MELBOURNE, Australia -- A bristling Lleyton Hewitt won
a bad-tempered encounter with Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2
4-6, 6-1, 6-4 at the Australian Open on Saturday.
The third seed, looking to become the first Australian to
win the title since Mark Edmondson in 1976, wore down the 25th
seed in two hours, 17 minutes to set up a meeting with Spanish
teenager Rafael Nadal.
"I don't know if there was any (extra) tension," Hewitt
said. "We were playing a very tight third-round match in a grand
slam, and he is a very tough opponent.
"I'm through to the second week now and this is the business
end of the tournament."
The first three sets were of high quality but the match
burst into life early in the fourth with some unsavory scenes.
Chela appeared to get angry with Hewitt for his on-court
gesticulations and fired a serve the Australian had to jump
to avoid being hit by.
After Hewitt had broken for a 2-1 lead, he seemed to mutter
toward Chela and the Argentine was then seen to
spit in Hewitt's direction at the changeover.
The spat galvanized Chela and he broke back for 4-4, only to
drop his own serve immediately, and Hewitt held on to reach the
"It was a very tense moment in the match and we sorted it
out later in the locker room," Chela said through a translator.
"I did spit but not in his direction. He thought I did so I
apologized to him after the game."
Hewitt, whose on-court antics also upset his last opponent
James Blake, said he was unhappy about the incident but had
accepted Chela's apology.
"I've accepted his apology. I don't think it's the right
thing ... it's not good for the game," he said.
The drama overshadowed Nikolay Davydenko destroying Tim
Henman's Australian Open campaign.
Henman smashed a ball into the
stands in anger in the fourth game of the third set, his
cleanest hit in a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 third-round loss to
The seventh-seeded Henman was a semifinalist at the French and
U.S. Opens last year and a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon. But he
seemed distracted Saturday, making 32 unforced errors and five
double-faults. He won less than half his 69 net approaches.
"I feel totally gutted, really," Henman said. "My
expectations were obviously for a lot more."
Davydenko, a Russian seeded 26th, hit 31 clean winners, mostly
on his forehand, and broke Henman's serve in the opening games of
the first and third sets. He had never reached the second week of a
Grand Slam tournament in 15 previous attempts.
Henman, Britain's top player, joined No. 5 Carlos Moya of Spain as the
highest seeds bounced in the early rounds. Moya fell to
compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the opening round Monday.
Andy Roddick served 22 aces and hit
41 winners -- including a passing shot played between his legs -- and
beat Austria's Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 6-2, 7-5.
The second-ranked Roddick had the crowd buzzing after starting
his first service game with a pair of aces. He unleashed serves at
up to 139 mph.
"I thought I moved really well. I got up two sets, the third
one got a little tight, but I was able to get through," said
Roddick, who noted his serve is well short of his world record 155 mph. "I'm holding serve though, that's the most
In the third game, the 32nd-seeded Melzer drew Roddick into the
net with a drop shot, then sent up a lob that landed just inside
the line. Roddick raced back and flicked the ball back between his
legs and down the line as Melzer barely moved.
He repeated the shot later in the match, but missed it the
"I got greedy. The first one felt good, so I needed more," he
Roddick was greedy with his serve. He saved three break points
in the fourth game, which went to deuce four times.
They were Melzer's only looks at a break point.
Davydenko next faces 12th-seeded Guillermo Canas, a 6-1, 6-2,
6-2 winner over Radek Stepanek.
French Open finalist Guillermo Coria beat former No. 1 Juan
Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 and will play fellow Argentine David
Nalbandian, seeded ninth, in the next round.
Nalbandian, a Wimbledon finalist in 2002 and quarterfinalist
here the last two years, beat error-prone Fernando Gonzalez 6-7
(3), 7-5, 6-2, 6-3, converting a third of his 24 breakpoint
Earlier, 12th seeded Argentine Guillermo Canas joined Coria
in the last 16 when he saw off Czech Radek Stepanek in straight
Information from The Associated Press, SportsTicker and Reuters was used in this report.