Chela says spitting was not toward Hewitt
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 last 16.
"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 Davydenko.
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 important thing."
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 second time.
"I got greedy. The first one felt good, so I needed more," he said.
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 chances.
Earlier, 12th seeded Argentine Guillermo Canas joined Coria in the last 16 when he saw off Czech Radek Stepanek in straight sets.
Information from The Associated Press, SportsTicker and Reuters was used in this report.
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