Greek star Maria Sakkari has become the latest women’s seed to crash out of the Australian Open, suffering a three-set, third-round upset at the hands of China’s Zhu Lin.
World No.87 Zhu fought her way to a tough 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-4 win to celebrate Chinese New Year in fine style and set up a showdown with two-time champion Victoria Azarenka in the last 16.
A rollercoaster encounter took twists and turns to the end, with Zhu converting a third break point to take a 5-4 lead in the third set before she served out the match after more than two-and-a-half hours.
“Am I in a dream? Words can’t describe how I feel right now,” Zhu said after the biggest win of her career.
“I want to thank my team and thank you all for pushing me today to become a better player.”
Zhu’s first win over a top-10 opponent took her into the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time.
The 28-year-old’s previous best results had been second-round appearances at Wimbledon (2021) and the US Open (2019).
“I have to believe in myself,” Zhu said.
“I have the ability to be able to play at this high level and I need to just work hard every day.
“Who knows what’s going to happen? You never know.”
Sixth seed Sakkari had been less than convincing in her previous match, scraping her way through to the third round after being rattled by Russian teenager Diana Shnaider.
Against Zhu, the two-time grand slam semi-finalist wrested momentum during the second set but handed it straight back when she was broken in the first game of the third.
Sakkari blasted 42 winners to Zhu’s 29, but also made 52 unforced errors to her opponent’s 38.