Two of the top four seeds were knocked out of the $175,000 Washington Star International Championships last night and top-seeded Jimmy Connors barely survived.
Second-seeded Harold Solomon, a Silver Spring native, dropped a thriller to Zeljko Franulovic, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, while fourth-seeded Eddie Dibbs was surprised by wild card entry Mel Purcell, 6-1, 7-6.
Four of the top eight seeds were eliminated in Wednesday's double round play. Only half of the sixteen seeds remain for Thursday's round of sixteen.
On match point Purcell, 21, hit a forehand from the baseline which tipped the net and fell over, 30 feet in front of a helpless, disgruntled Dibbs.
Solomon, inconsistent throughout the match, screamed at himself constantly, at one point yelling, "I just hate myself," after double-faulting.
Connors had to abandon his struts and pelvic swivels and call on his best tennis to survive against game George Hardie, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Connors had to struggle to win the second set over the 27-year-old lefthander. Connors, ranked third in the world, coasted to a third-set victory and thrilled the almost full house of 5,600 by closing out the match with three aces.
He had to play twice yesterday because rain had thrown the Star schedule into chaos. Connors had little trouble in the afternoon match, downing young Tim Wilkison, 6-0, 7-6, on the Stadium Court.
"I wasn't worried about the rain," Connors said."The only thing I worry about is the lightning. With my racket (aluminum) and lightning, it's like Lee Trevino with golf clubs.
"I had a good time tonight, but I was tired as hell. Playing twice in one day is worse than playing one five-set match. You start-stop-start again. Everybody has to do it so I can't complain."
Other seeded players advancing to the third round were Gene Meyer, Brian Gottfried, Jose-Luis Clerc, Eliot Eltscher, Corrado Barazzutti and Phil Dent.
In the day's best match, 15-year-old Jimmy Arias, youngest player ever to be ranked on the Association of Tennis Professionals' computer, lost to 34-year-old Jaime Fillol, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, on the Stadium Court.
At the same time, on an outside court, seventh-seeded Hans Gildemeister of Chile lost to unseeded Dick Stockton, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3. Stockton, out much of the last two years with back and foot injuries, almost defaulted by arriving two minutes before the match. Without warmups, he still won the first eight games.
Only about 75 people witnessed Stockton's upset of Gildemeister, ranked 17th in the world. It was especially surprising since Stockton is still recuperating from foot surgery and was using a new racket for the first time.
"Basically it was a funny match," Stockton said. "I was two minutes away from defaulting and had no practice and then I was using this new racket for the first time in match play. I switched from wood to aluminum about 10 days ago. You can definitely call this win an upset."
It was almost a disastrous day for Chile as Glidemeister's countryman, Fillol, lost the first set to Arias.
Fillol said that he was nervous playing young Arias in front of 1,500 fans cheering every Arias point.
The match was close throughout, with long base-line rallies. Ultimately, Fillol overpowered the 5-7, 130-pound Arias.
"When I lose matches against the pros, it's usually because they overpower me," Arias said. "The only way I can move up in the men's rankings will be to grow some. It's not frustrating yet. But they have so much weight and power behind their shots that I just don't know yet.
"The only one in the family who doesn't understand my being so excited about playing professional tennis is my mother," Arias said. "Whenever I talk to her from a tournament all she asks is 'Jimmy, when are you coming home? Why don't you just come home and do the things most 15 year olds do? You can come home and find some kids here to practice with.' One day she'll understand."
Arias' first-set victory was helped by a controversial play when Fillol, serving at 3-3, 30-40, hit a second serve that the linesman called out. But the referee overruled him and said the ball was good and to "play a let." But Fillol, the ATP president, conceded the call and Arias had his first break of service and a 4-3 lead.
Fillol broke right back but Arias again broke Fillol's serve and held his own to win the first set.
Fillol didn't have much trouble with Arias in the second set and seemed very relaxed in assuming a 3-1 third-set lead before Arias broke again to tie the set.
Arias' best game came when he was two points from losing at 3-5, 30-all. He blasted his third and fourth aces in succession to pull within 4-5, then gave the crowd a big grin as he changed ends. After Fillol closed out the match with two clean overhead smashes, both players received standing ovations.
Wilkison who turned professional two years ago right out of high school, played like Connors' traveling sparring partner in the first set. Connors was toying with the southpaw, running him with well-paced ground strokes, accompanied by the usual Connors groans.