NEW YORK -- Andy Roddick's forehand landed on the far sideline, and suddenly and inexplicably, chair umpire Jorge Dias stirred from up high late in the fifth set in the wee hours Friday and made a pronouncement from his vantage point. He overruled the winner.
Roddick went nuts. In his teen-aged words, he went "postal." Television replays showed the forehand was clearly good, catching the line. He was serving to stay alive, trailing, 4-5, in the fifth set against fourth-seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, and the overrule came on the first point of that 10th game.
Roddick tossed his racket and stormed up to Dias. "No!" Roddick screamed at him. "How can you overrule from the far side? What is wrong with you? It was right on the line. What are you -- are you an absolute moron?" Dias, who is from Portugal, gave him a warning and, of course, did not change his mind. Four points later, a rattled and rushed Roddick was out of the tournament and Hewitt landed in the semifinals against Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia. Hewitt defeated Roddick, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, in 3 hours 40 minutes.
Hewitt's tenacity was evident on match point, running down and ripping a backhand passing shot down the line. He was resolute and managed to retrieve many of Roddick's best shots, and broke his serve three times.
Roddick, who reached the quarterfinals in only his second Open, was devastated. He went through several mood swings in the interview room, from distraught and teary-eyed to defiant to flip to humorous.
"I thought it was a very good match, both of us fought hard," he said. "It's unfortunate I blew up and it ended the way it did. It's pretty disheartening when you fight that hard and something like that happens.
"You just feel like someone reaches inside you and takes something. Of course, I went postal. You fight so hard. And he's probably one of the best fighters. I'm hanging toe to toe. I had chances, and the guy overrules on the far sideline at 4-5 in the fifth. That's just infuriating."
He was just getting going and called the situation "pathetic."
"No umpire in his right mind would make that call," Roddick said. "That's not a ball he can say, 'I saw it clearly, 100 percent, no doubt in my mind out.' If he can say that, he's a liar."
The flash of anger and controversial ending marred a brilliant match. It started slowly and picked up momentum, even though thousands of spectators departed Arthur Ashe Stadium when Roddick dropped the third set. They missed another riveting contest as Roddick found another level in the fourth.
"I was feeling a bit dodgy after losing the fourth," Hewitt said. "I didn't see how I was going to break him in the fifth. He made a couple of errors and I was able to get the break."
Hewitt was gracious and complimentary of Roddick's game.
"He's going to be in the top five," Hewitt said. He paused and finished the sentence, saying: "In a few weeks."
Roddick and Hewitt eliminated the hangover looming all day and part of the night over the National Tennis Center in the aftermath of the brilliance produced by Pete Sampras' four-set victory against Andre Agassi.
No fault of top-seeded Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil or No. 7 Kafelnikov but it had to be fairly difficult being the follow-up act. Kafelnikov tried for something completely different-some serve-and-volley tennis-and came away with his most one-sided victory against Kuerten since 1996.
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