Australian Open 2023: Felix Auger-Aliassime out, Jiri Lehcka, ‘Netflix curse’ is the real winner of the Australian Open

Jiri Lehecka has stunned sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday to surge into the Australian Open quarter-finals in only his fifth Grand Slam appearance as yet another seed fell to complete the “Netflix curse”.

The 21-year-old Czech was knocked out in the first round at the four majors last year but was too hot for the sixth-seeded Canadian on Margaret Court Arena, winning 4-6 6-3 7-6 7-6.

It was his first defeat ever of a top-10 player and built on his victories over ATP Masters 1000 champions Borna Coric and Cameron Norrie in earlier rounds.

“Honestly, it feels amazing,” said Lehecka, who has climbed 70 places in the rankings over the past year to 71.

“It’s tough to find the words because what I’ve been through in the last year and now coming back to Australia.

“After losing in the first round last year, if someone had told me before the tournament that I would be playing like this, I wouldn’t have believed them.

“I’m super happy and excited.”

It may also be bad news for Netflix if it hopes to continue its series Break Point as Auger-Aliassime was the tenth and final person to fall from the first part of the series.

For the record, Nick Kyrgios, Ajla Tomljanovic and Paula Badosa pulled out before the tournament began, Matteo Berrettini was a first round casualty, Ons Jabeur, Casper Ruud, Taylor Fritz and Thanasi Kokkinakis went in the second round, Maria Sakkari was a third round exit and now Auger-Aliassime fell in the fourth round. Technically the fourth round is the second week of the grand slam but as the tournament began last Monday, the curse may have stuck on a technicality.

Auger-Aliassime laughed off the curse after his third round win over 28th seed Francisco Cerundolo on Friday, saying: “My girlfriend showed me today. I wasn’t aware.

“I was aware that players were losing, I’d see players were losing, but it didn’t cross my mind until, yeah, she showed me the thing this morning. I thought it was funny.

“I don’t know. I don’t think it’s connected. Maybe the players that lost, maybe they do feel like it’s connected somehow. I don’t think they do. But, yeah, so funny how things work out sometimes.”

Yesterday, Tomljanovic revealed she would miss months of the season after he knee injury, tweeting: “Can we stop with the Netflix curse lol…it’s just sports”.

Some of the stars laughed off the curse but it’s not looking so laughable now.

Hilariously, Netflix UK and Ireland’s Twitter account changed its bio to read: “The #NetflixCurse is not real.”

Lehecka will play the winner of a blockbuster evening clash between Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas and dangerous Italian 15th seed Jannik Sinner.

Tsitsipas is the highest seed left in the draw at three following Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud’s early exits and has yet to drop a set.

Sinner is looking for revenge after losing to him in the quarter-finals last year.

Before his exploits at Melbourne Park, Lehecka’s biggest splash came last February in Rotterdam.

As a qualifier he advanced to the semi-finals with wins over Denis Shapovalov and Lorenzo Musetti before pushing Tsitsipas to three sets.

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