Felix Auger-Aliassime is the last tennis superstar to fall victim to the rumored “Netflix curse” at the Australian Open, with Canada’s sixth seed knocked out in the fourth round by unheralded 21-year-old Jiri Lehecka.
- Ten players featured prominently in promotional material for the first five-episode run of documentary series Break Point
- Three of them, including Australians Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanović, withdrew before the tournament
- Auger-Aliassime finished 2022 as one of the most in-form players on the men’s tour, with three straight titles in October.
Auger-Aliassime won the first set but 71st-ranked Lehecka bounced back to take the match 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/3) on Margaret Court Arena.
The 22-year-old, who finished 2022 in hot form with titles in Florence, Antwerp and Basel, was the last of the 10 players still vying for the title in Melbourne who featured prominently in the first five episodes of the Netflix documentary series Break Point, which went live before the tournament.
Auger-Aliassime brushed off the “curse” before the match against Lehecka, who will face Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in his first major quarterfinal.
“I thought it was funny,” he said after reaching the fourth round.
“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. I don’t think it’s connected, anyway.”
The other players included Australians Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanović, who both withdrew from their home slam with knee injuries.
Fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis also appeared in the promotional material for the documentary series from the same team that made Formula 1-focused Drive To Survive, and he lost from two sets to love up against Andy Murray in the second round.
Murray also took down Italian 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in the first round, while the other apparent examples of the curse were world number 16 Paula Badosa (injury withdrawal), Wimbledon and US Open finalist Ons Jabeur (second round), French and US Open runner-up. -up Casper Ruud (second round), US men’s number one Taylor Fritz (second round) and sixth seed Maria Sakkari (third round).
The woman who beat Sakkari in the third round, 87th-ranked Lin Zhu, was taken out in the fourth by 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who reached the quarters of the tournament for the first time since 2016.
The pair spent 2 hours and 40 minutes on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night, as Azarenka won the match 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
It is only Azarenka’s second trip past the round of 16 from the past 25 majors, with her only other deep run ending in the final of the 2020 US Open.
Netflix will release five more episodes of the series in the middle of the year, which may put a shiver down the spine of the more superstitious players heading into Wimbledon.