Pushed to the limit once again at the Miami Open, Bianca Andreescu passed another test with flying colors.
In two hours and 36 minutes, the No.8 seed beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the last of the tournament's four quarterfinal matches, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 — becoming just the third player to beat the in-form Spaniard in a third set this year to round out the semifinalists.
“After the first set, I was honestly so tired, but we both fought really hard," Andreescu said on-court after the match.
"She’s an incredible fighter. I have no idea how I pushed through, but I fought as hard as I could and I’m super happy.”
Andreescu battled back from a 3-0, double-break deficit to seal the opening set, but a string of seven straight breaks in the middle set saw her taken the distance for the third time in four matches this week.
In set two, Sorribes Tormo's decisive service hold came by winning two straight points at 30-30, as a 23-shot rally, ended when an Andreescu forehand found the net, sealed the game in her favor.
The Spaniard was the only player to hold in the middle set, breaking for a fourth and final time to push the match to a decider, but lost serve three times from 2-2 to ultimately be beaten.
Andreescu's effusive praise for the Spaniard, who'll crack the Top 50 as a result of her best-ever performance at a WTA 1000 event, continued in her post-match press conference.
In all, the Canadian struck 42 winners, more than double Sorribes Tormo's total of 17, but also totaled 42 unforced errors to the Spaniard's 21. The two players combined to break serve 17 times in the match overall.
"She doesn't give you pace at all. Those high, heavy balls, you really have to generate your own. That consists of a lot of leg power, arm power, you're putting your all into it. Because if you just give, like, a ball with nothing on it, she's going to take advantage of that," Andreescu said.
"So it's always you having to generate your own pace. That was for sure tiring towards like the end of the second set. Like I'm sure many people could see that. Trying my best not to show it, but sometimes it's really hard, especially in these conditions.
"I never played her before. It's hard to really tell how a player plays online rather than you actually playing them. So I think I got caught off-guard just a little bit. I thought her ball would be a bit more heavy and deep... I feel like I was going for too much at the start, but then I figured it out and I changed my game plan basically.
"I adjusted. And then the match was just super up and down, like at one point she was on fire, and then I was on fire, and it just kept going like that. It could have been either one of our matches. For me, the main thing today was fighting harder than her. I say that a lot, but I know that she is an incredible fighter, so that was the main goal and I did that."
With the victory, Andreescu advances to her second semifinal of the season, and third at WTA 1000 level in her career.
She'll next face Greece's Maria Sakkari for the first time for a place in the final.
"I watched a little bit of that match. She played really well. Like, she was just dominating right from the start. Naomi wasn't quite there," Andreescu said.
"But she's coming off a great win. I mean, I'm coming off a pretty great win too. I'm sure she's very confident, and I have watched her play many, many times so I kind of know what to expect, but obviously it's different once I step out there.
"I'm just gonna have to adjust with what I know now and what I am going to see on the court. But I know it's going to be a battle, and I'm really looking forward to it."