LONDON, Great Britain - The fifth time was the charm.
No.8 seed Elina Svitolina a winless streak in quarterfinals at Grand Slams at Wimbledon on Tuesday, as she stopped the Cinderella run of Czech Karolina Muchova to reach a major semifinal for the first time, 7-5, 6-4.
"It feels amazing, but I try to don't think so much about it any more as I was trying to not think so much about that I couldn't get the win before in quarterfinals. So the tournament continues," Svitolina said.
"I think I learned to be patient because I had lots of tough matches in quarterfinala. Few of them was very unlucky, I was not fit 100%.
"This is also experience, I would say, because you have to save some energy, you have to work smart, you have to schedule your practices, you have to do the right recovery, what works for you.
"This is just the way. You have to find your own way, what works for you, for your body, for your mind. I think it's just experience. That's what I really learned."
— Elina Svitolina (@ElinaSvitolina) July 9, 2019
After twice reaching the last eight at each of the Australian Open and French Opens, the Ukrainian No.1 battled from a 5-2 deficit in the opening set, but ultimately needed to will herself over the line in 91 minutes to become the first player from her country to make a Grand Slam semifinal.
"I think the hardest part was that I had to make the match physical. I had to really push her physically because I knew obviously that she played three hours yesterday," Svitolina said.
"She was, you know, little bit tired. She had to play like one-, two-shot rallies. That's why I had to run a lot, I had to get lots of balls back, I tried to make one extra ball over the net.
"I think in the end, this fighting spirit really helped me to find my game and to get back in the match. The first set for sure was the key."
Svitolina first served for a place in the final four at 5-2 in the second set, but never got to match point, and later found herself two points away from the victory before Muchova held serve to win back-to-back games.
However, Svitolina steadied herself when it mattered the most, as she played two clutch points at 30-30 in the match's final game, sealing her place in the final four with a service winner.
Having needed over three hours to stun No.3 seed and compatriot Karolina Pliskova on Monday, Muchova nonetheless looked fresh as she settled into the match quickly after dropping serve from 30-0 to begin.
The Czech lost just one point in the next four games to take command of the opener, but could not muster a set point after building her own 5-2 lead.
Muchova dropped serve to 15 in the ninth game when serving for the opener, and later surrendered her serve a third time in a marathon, six-deuce 11th game that ultimately decided the set.
"I was obviously a little tired today, but still I think I could make it in the first set. It was 5-2. My energy level was going down all the time. Somehow I couldn't put it back - she played great, so it was tough then," Muchova said in defeat.
"I made quarterfinals of Wimbledon, so I beat good players. Yesterday we had awesome match with Kaja. It's many positive things from this tournament for me. I will just keep going."
Having lost seven of her last eight matches entering Wimbledon, Svitolina enters her first career grass court meeting with No.7 seed Simona Halep holding a 4-3 head-to-head edge.
Halep won the last meeting between the two, in a three-set semifinal at the Qatar Total Open in February, stopping a three-match winning streak by the Ukrainian against her.
In their lone meeting at a Grand Slam, Svitolina let a 6-3, 5-1 lead slip en route to losing to Halep in the last eight at the 2017 French Open.
"We played many times. We played also many times after that quarterfinal. I don't really want to think about that one because it didn't go my way. It was quite long time ago now," Svitolina said.
"I think I'm a little bit different player now. It's going to be interesting match. It's the first time that we play in a [Grand Slam] semifinal. It's going to be I think interesting for both of us. Hopefully I can bring my best game.
"In general, I'm just happy that I'm playing free, I'm playing decent tennis, I would say - just happy that I have opportunity to play in the semifinals of Wimbledon. It's something special."