China’s Zhu Lin gets emotional after career defining victory over Maria Sakkari


World number 87 Zhu Lin of China scored one of the biggest upsets in the women’s draw after she shocked sixth seed Maria Sakkari 7-6 (7/3), 1-6, 6-4 at Australian Open.

Zhu progressed into the last 16 and a clash with former champion Victoria Azarenka beckons, following her unlikely victory that went past midnight, giving her a career definining win on Chinese New Year’s eve.

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Zhu had lost all seven of her previous encounters against top-10 players in the past and looked in trouble after losing the second set, but regrouped in the final frame to hold on.

Zhu burst into tears during her emotional on-court interview, thanking her team and the crowd for the support.

“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 to her player’s box.

“It’s just 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, yeah, who knows what’s going to happen? You never know.”

Zhu had never got beyond the second round previously at Melbourne Park – or any other Grand Slam – but now finds herself facing the 2012 and 2013 champion Azarenka for a place in the quarter-finals.

The Belarusian 24th seed earlier knocked out American 10th seed Madison Keys 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 to reach the fourth round for the second year in succession.

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