The Netflix curse has struck again at the Australian Open, claiming number six seed Maria Sakkari on Friday.
Zhu Lin, who is ranked 87th, stunned the Greek star when he claimed the 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 victory to advance to the final 16.
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Netflix’s new series Break Point launched to the general public on January 13 and gives fans a look behind the curtain at the world of tennis.
The 10-part docuseries spotlights multiple stars of the game, but since its debut, the series’ stars have collapsed at the Australian Open.
Nine of the 10 featured in the first five episodes failed to make it to the second week at the first Grand Slam of 2023.
Three withdrew before the tournament began, due to injury. Six have been eliminated before the end of the third round.
Sakkari became the last player to be downed by the curse. Only Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime remains in the draw.
Zhu’s win was his first time against a top 10 ranked opponent in the world.
She had lost all seven of her previous meetings against top 10 players. But you wouldn’t have known that at a late-night meeting at Margaret Court Arena that went past midnight and, fittingly, on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
Underdog Zhu celebrated the Year of the Rabbit by taking the first set in a tiebreaker.
Although she dropped the second as Sakkari finally woke up, Zhu rallied to secure the biggest Grand Slam win of her career and then burst into tears.
“Is this real? Am I in a dream?” She sobbed.
“Thank you, my team, and thank you for pushing me every day,” she said, looking towards her player’s box.
“It’s just that I have to believe in myself that I have the ability to be able to play at this high level and I need to work hard every day.
“And, yes, who knows what will happen? You never know.”
But it was the curse that became the hot topic among tennis fans. Auger-Aliassime is left with the burden of the series after American Taylor Fritz dispelled any ideas before his exit from the Australian Open in the second round against Australian Alexei Popyrin.
“I noticed people withdrawing from the tournament, but I didn’t know it was a problem,” said the 25-year-old. “I’m not going to lose my first round match because I’m on Netflix. program, so I didn’t think about that.”
Despite the lingering curse on Melbourne Park, it hasn’t deterred other stars from raising their hands to appear in possible future seasons.
Dane Holger Rune laughed off suggestions that players could be unlucky and said he would be open to getting involved in a new season.
“I’m excited to do it. I think it’s going to be great. It’s good for tennis,” she said.
“It’s good for us players. [The] the more fans we can get into the sport, the better. I’m very positive about it.”
– with AFP