Even Jimmy Connors didn't have an easy time in second-round play at the D.C. National Bank Tennis Classic yesterday. But he did win, something six other seeded players, including defending champion Andres Gomez, were not able to do.
Other seeded players who lost were Hans Schwaier, Victor Pecci, Jimmy Arias, Francesco Cancellotti and Paul McNamee.
Connors, playing his first Washington tournament since 1980, defeated Stefan Eriksson of Sweden, 6-3, 6-4, but it was not an easy match.
"I played all right," said the top-seeded Connors, who joked that he came back to Washington because he "missed the heat."
Gomez, the No. 2 seed from Ecuador, was upset by Pablo Arraya, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, in a match that ended at 11:40 p.m.
"I had so many chances," said Gomez, who was up, 4-0, in the first set. "I just never did it."
Arraya has made a habit of winning upsets here. Last year, he defeated Henrik Sundstrom, who, like Gomez, was the No. 5 player in the world at the time.
"I was trying to move him around because he's such a big player," Arraya said. "My advantage is my speed and my disadvantage is his power."
In the second set, Gomez went up, 5-6, when he sent Arraya scrambling to the net for a volley, then leaped to field the return and put it behind Arraya. Arraya went up, 40-15, in the next game, and forced the tie breaker when Gomez hit a return long.
In the final set, Arraya broke in the second game to help himself to a 3-0 lead. Gomez broke back to make it 3-2, but Arraya broke and held to go up, 5-2. Serving for the match at 5-3, Arraya nipped the base line to go up, 15-0. Gomez tied it when a return by Arraya went long, but Arraya passed him to go up, 30-15. Arraya finished off his upset with an ace and a service winner.
"I have a lot of respect for Andres," Arraya said after the match, which was punctuated by yells from both players. "He's one of my best friends on the tour. But there's moments when you just forget that.
"I don't know the meaning of the word subdued."
Connors and Eriksson traded breaks in the first two games, but Connors went up, 3-1, after getting a break when Eriksson missed an overhead shot at the net, and holding in the fourth game, which went to deuce twice.
Connors went down, 0-30, in the sixth game and lost it when he hit a backhand wide. He broke Eriksson to go up, 4-3, after Eriksson doublefaulted and missed a drop shot. Connors won the set on Eriksson's serve in the ninth game after a long point that finally ended when Eriksson netted a return.
At 2-2 in the second set, Eriksson worked Connors to deuce. Connors hit a return wide, flinging the ball into the air as Eriksson took the advantage and then won when Connors netted a backhand return.
Once again, Connors broke right back, going to 3-3 when he passed Eriksson, who had tumbled to the court at the net after a volley. Both held to 5-4, and Connors won the match by breaking Eriksson with a passing shot down the sideline.
"It's difficult to play somebody you've never played or seen play. He made me hit a lot of good shots," Connors said.
Four seeded players lost in the afternoon, and in the evening session, along with the upset of Gomez, Guillermo Vilas defeated No. 10 Cancelloti, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
Arias, the seventh seed, injured a muscle in his right shoulder yesterday morning and considered defaulting. He managed to play, but was severely hampered and lost to Guy Forget, 6-4, 6-3.
Another of the seeded players to lose in the afternoon session was No. 9 Pecci, beaten, 6-2, 6-2, by qualifier Thomas Muster of Austria.
Vilas said he was happy with his play but that part of the reason for the upset was the poor lighting on the court. "He (Cancellotti) goes for winners and it's difficult to have the accuracy . . . He was doing something he never does -- chipping and coming in."
Aaron Krickstein, seeded fifth, wasn't able to put Jimmy Brown away until he won a third-set tie breaker for a 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) victory.
Michael Pernfors, the two-time NCAA champion at the University of Georgia, gave third-seeded Yannick Noah a tough match before losing, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
Pernfors was down, 5-2, in the first set but came back to force the tie breaker, in a match filled with rallies at the net.
In other matches, No. 11 Martin Jaite, who lost to Mats Wilander in the finals at the U.S. Pro Championships Monday, defeated Gabriel Urpi, 6-2, 6-4, but 13th-seeded Schwaier of West Germany lost to John Ross, a wild card entry, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. McNamee, seeded 14th, lost to Diego Perez, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.