NEW YORK, NY, USA - 24-year-old Aliaksandra Sasnovich may yet grow to love Manhattan. For now, the off-beat Belarusian prefers the Big Apple just enough to keep the doctor away.

"I like New York for five days, maybe a week," she said after a three-set win over 2014 quarterfinalist and former World No.7 Belinda Bencic. "Of course, I want to stay here for the full two weeks, but there’s a lot of people here, a lot of noise. I prefer cities or countries similar to Switzerland and France, in the mountains."

If New York is jazz, Sasnovich is a one-woman symphony, speaking in syncopated staccato, conducting her quotes with rhythmic hand gestures, seemingly able to match frenetic pace set by the locals - or at least the infamous "Salt Bae."

"I’m more open, and starting to be older and older. My brain is at the place where it has to be. I’m a really happy person. I’m really here, and I know that I belong to tennis. It’s my life."

- Aliaksandra Sasnovich

"It’s a nice time staying by Central Park. I want to go the Nusr-Et Steakhouse with Salt Bae. He was here two days ago and he’ll probably back, so I want to meet him. I do like walking around Manhattan, seeing different shops. I like to have breakfast with a window view so I can see people going to work, or walking their dog.

"Everyone is different here, different nationalities. It’s not like this in my country; everyone is Belarusian there."

Unseeded and looming, she made her major main draw debut here in 2014, playing a Grandstand second round against Caroline Wozniacki most memorable for the Dane's ponytail sticking between the strings of her racquet.

Sasnovich has since shot up the rankings after several years in the outer orbit of the Top 100, reaching the Brisbane International final as a qualifier and stunning two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova en route to her first Grand Slam second week at the All England Club.

The big shift came in the spring, which she described as a process of taking control of her career, and her future.

"At the end of May, I called Aliaksandr Leniuchau, a coach I worked with during the 2015 season, and asked him to coach me again. He’s a really nice coach and a really good person, so I think it was a good decision.

"It was my first really good decision. Before I would talk with my dad, and he would decide for me. We would decide together, of course, but this time, I was the one to make the call, one on one, and asked him to work with me.

"I feel much more open on court, and more relaxed. I’m enjoying more because I just love this game. My brain is finally at the place where it has to be."

An obvious free spirit, Sasnovich has managed to mature while remaining very much herself, joking about her pre-match ritual against Bencic in stiflingly hot conditions and later opining on her passion for window shopping.

"I eat Nutella in the evening, two boxes! No, I have to eat chicken and quinoa, but no sweets. If you have even one piece of chocolate, it’s going to be on court," laughingly clarifying she meant it figuratively. 

"I don't like to buy everything, but just to see. Sometimes I do want to buy something; it’s my drug! I might be feeling aggressive one day, and I want to lose this feeling, I don’t need anyone else with me. I just want to walk, see the shops, where I’m going to spend my money, how much I’ll get each round. If it’s not enough, I’ll check the next round."

She pauses, and turns philosophical.

"It’s not just money, but I play for my people, the ones who support me. The money isn’t so important for me. It’s more important to really love what you do. A lot of people do their jobs and they don’t even like it. I couldn’t say this about myself."

It's an attitude embued from her parents, both athletes in their own right - her mother played basketball while her father played hockey and tennis for 20 years on the senior circuit - who made major sacrifices to keep their daughter on the court.

"My mom sold her engagement ring when I was small so I could play tennis. We don’t have a lot of money, so it wasn’t so easy. My dad has been with me my entire career. Without him, I am nothing, no chance to play. At 13, I decided to be professional. At 9, I was playing as a kid, just for myself. It’s been 11 years since I’ve played professional. Other players started earlier, but I think if I had started younger, I might not have even wanted to continued..."

She trails off, her mood brightening as she deepens her voice for effect.

"It would have been, 'Tennis, tennis. Tennis again? Yes, tennis.'

"It’s my way. I’m a really happy person. I’m really here, and I know that I belong to tennis. It’s my life."

Her next opponent is longtime friend and No.11 seed Daria Kasatkina, who has beaten her in their last three meetings. Sasnovich's ever-maturing outlook has her ready to pull off another upset beneath the bright lights of New York City.

"It’s going to be an interesting match. For me, it doesn’t matter who I play, because if I play my tennis, the tennis I prepared in practice, I think I have quite good tennis. I lost to Dasha a few times, but it’s tennis.

"The ball is round and everyone has chances. You have to be energetic and positive, and you can beat everyone and everyone can beat everyone. For example, tomorrow, someone will feel not so good, and someone else will want to win more than the other.

"Everything is possible."