Argentinian Eduardo Schwank was slapped with a US$1,000 penalty for his peculiar play and odd behavior during a three-set loss to Juan Ignacio Chela at the US Clay Court Championships.
Schwank was fined after a 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1 loss on Wednesday that advanced his countryman Chela to the quarter-finals of the rain-hit US$442,000 tournament, which is the only ATP event in the US contested on clay.
Rain forced the postponement of defending champion Lleyton Hewitt’s match against Somdev Devvarman of India until yesterday.
In other matches on Wednesday, Chile’s Nicolas Massu outlasted US qualifier Ryan Sweeting 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in the longest three-set match of this year’s ATP season at three hours and 25 minutes.
Seventh seeded Schwank used an alarmingly high number of lobs and drop shots and was booed when he foot-faulted on match point.
Chela said it was one of the most frustrating matches he has played in some time.
“It’s hard to keep concentration when two points are very well played and two points are poorly played,” Chela said. “He kept doing those drop shots so it was really hard to focus. I tried to stay on course and play my best tennis.”
Schwank blamed his inconsistent play on a bad back.
“The problem with my back, it affected me mentally so it didn’t help the match,” Schwank said. “I was doing drop shots to shorten the point so to not exert my back so much and also to make him run and get him tired.”
Schwank plans to return home, but says he won’t be out long.
“Well I don’t like to retire, that’s why I just played until the end,” Schwank said. “For me it was the same, retiring or not. At the end it’s the same. I’d rather stay on the court and lose on court.”
Chela disagreed with the strategy.
“I think if you have any sort of pain, where you don’t feel well and aren’t able to give 100 percent on the court, it’s better to just retire,” he said.
AFP, PONTE VEDRA, FLORIDA
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki beat Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the WTA MPS Group Championships on Wednesday.
Third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova also advanced to the quarters by beating Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-3.
Fifth-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova held off American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-2.
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