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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