Swiss 13th seed Belinda Bencic advanced to her first Grand Slam semi-final on Wednesday at the US Open by defeating Croatia’s Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.
Bencic will play Thursday against the winner of a later quarter-final between Canadian 15th seed Bianca Andreescu and Belgian 25th seed Elise Mertens.
Vekic, 23, failed to serve out the first set after breaking in the ninth game, with it eventually going to a tie-break which Bencic took charge of.
The Swiss, who knocked out defending champion Naomi Osaka in the previous round, broke twice in the second set, sealing victory on her third match point when Vekic hit a forehand wide.
The pair shared a warm embrace at the net and Bencic was confident their friendship would survive.
“We’re both professional enough to be friends off the court and competitive on the court,” Bencic said. “I think we did well. I’m sure off the court we are friends still.”
Bencic will now return to the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in more than three years.
She reached a career-high seventh in February 2016 before injuries and wrist surgery left her as low as 328th.
“I dreamed of this like a little kid so now that I’m here I’m really enjoying it,” said the Swiss, who ended a five-year wait to improve on her previous best Grand Slam showing of a US Open quarter-final.