Zhu Lin showed respect for Victoria Azarenka following their Australian Open match as she acknowledged that beating a champion like Azarenka requires a great effort. On Sunday, 87th-ranked Zhu fell just short of upsetting Azarenka at the Australian Open.
Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, recovered from a set down to beat Zhu 4-6 6-1 6-4. 28-year-old Zhu was playing against Azarenka for the first time, "I gave everything out there. I'm really proud of myself. Victoria, she's a Grand Slam champion.
You have to be 120%, even 200%, to be able to beat her. She has a lot more experience than me on this kind of stage. If I want to beat her, I need to be more consistent," Zhu said of playing Azarenka, per WTA Insider.
Zhu Lin: "I gave everything out there.
I'm really proud of myself.
Victoria, she's a Grand Slam champion. You have to be 120%, even 200%, to be able to beat her.
"She has a lot more experience than me on this kind of stage. If I want beat her, I need to be more consistent." pic.twitter.com/Pj2VJOvoFC — WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) January 22, 2023
Zhu lost a thriller against Azarenka
Zhu got off to the best possible start to the match, breaking Azarenka in the first game.
But in the fourth game, Azarenka broke back to tie the first set to two games apiece. However, blowing an early break didn't negatively impact Zhu, who broke Azarenka again in the seventh game. Up by a break, Zhu held to her serve in the eighth and 10th games to win the first set.
After losing the first set, Azarenka impressively started the second set as she clinched back-to-back breaks to open a comfortable 5-0 lead. Zhu served out the sixth game to end Azarenka's run of five games won, but it didn't change much since the Belarusian served out for the second set in the seventh game.
At the start of the third set, both Zhu and Azarenka struggled on their services as six breaks were seen in the first six games of the decider. After two games without a break, Azarenka broke Zhu for a fourth time in the set in the ninth game.
In the 10th game, Zhu missed out on two consecutive break points as Azarenka managed to serve out for the match.