Schwank fined after erratic play at Clay Court

HOUSTON: Eduardo Schwank was fined $1,000 for his erratic and unusual play after losing 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-1 to fellow Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the second round of the U.S. Men''s Clay Court Championships.

Schwank, the seventh seed, says a back problem caused him to use numerous drop shots and lobs in his Tuesday match. The crowd booed him after he foot-faulted on match point.

Rain forced the postponement of defending champion Lleyton Hewitt''s match against lucky loser Somdev Devvarman of India until Thursday. Hewitt has not played since having hip surgery on Jan. 29. Third-seeded Sam Querrey of the United States against Blaz Kavcic of Slovania also was rescheduled for Thursday.

“The problem with my back, it affected me mentally so it didn''t help the match,'''' Schwank said through an interpreter. “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.''''

Chela said it was difficult to play at such an inconsistent pace.

“It''s hard to keep concentration when two points are very well played and two points are poorly played,'''' Chela said through an interpreter. “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 said his back had bothered him for a few days. He planned to return home and expects to play at Barcelona.

“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 loose 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.

Nicolas Massu of Chile had to play the longest match on tour this year (three hours, 25 minutes) before finally beating qualifier Ryan Sweeting of the United States, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.

Sweeting was trying to reach his first quarterfinal on the ATP tour this year and he almost did it until Massu finally took advantage of Sweeting''s missed chances.

“I thought I was the more aggressive player throughout the whole match,'''' Sweeting said.

``I had chances in every set. I don''t think the first set needed to go 7-6. I was up a break there and I was up a break in the second and third.''''