PARIS, France - Timea Bacsinszky recovered from a frustrating first set to hold off former World No.1 and 2002 French Open finalist Venus Williams, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, to reach a third straight quarterfinal at Roland Garros.
"It was something really special," she said in her post-match press conference. "All the time when I step on these courts here, there's something special happening. I feel really privileged to be able to play on these courts."
Out of the game for 18 months and almost retired back in 2013, Bacsinszky has played some of her best tennis of her second career on the terre battue, getting within three games of the French Open final in 2015 against eventual champion Serena Williams.
"It was kind of insane for me, like hearing my name many times and pretty loudly in the crowd. I felt really touched and honored.
"As a tennis player, you dream of playing on big courts, but in my country, obviously you don't have any Grand Slams. So it's special that, at one of the four Grand Slams, you hear your name, like, so loud, it's something insane. I would have never imagined that in my whole life.
"It's a pretty good reminder for myself that you work hard for these moments. You're privileged to be able to play on these courts. It's an honor, and it's honor to have so many people cheering for me like I had today. So I don't know why or how this bond was made, but it felt really special today. And I know it's not going to be the same for my next match," she said, referring to her next match against French No.1 Kristina Mladenovic.
Bacsinszky has had more success against sister Venus in Paris, knocking out the five-time Wimbledon champion last year en route to the quarterfinals and was faced with the exact same task on Sunday.
"Last year it was kind of different, because the conditions were like way heavier than this year. So I had to cope with that, too, today because I was remembering how I played her last year. I played her completely in a different way than I played today."
The Swiss star raced out to a 5-1 lead and held two set points on her own serve before Venus, a capable clay courter who reached the Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarterfinals just two weeks ago, turned the tables to take the opening set after six straight games.
"I tried as much as I could in the first, and I did not succeed in winning it, because she raised her level, as well, but I was still pushing myself - and then her too - for a longer match. I know that physically I'm well prepared, so I feel especially great on clay. So I was really focusing more on that and telling myself, 'Okay, the match is long, the match is long, make her work.'"
Undaunted by the blip, Bacsinszky bore down in the ensuing two sets, roaring out to a 4-0 lead in the decider and didn't look back, clinching the win in two hours and 12 mintes on Court Philippe Chatrier.
"Winning against Venus is just amazing. She's a big inspiration not only for myself but probably all of the tennis players, because she's just so classy on and off the court. I can only say nice things about her, and really mean it. That's why it's special if I get the chance to win against her."
By match's end, the two combatants had each struck 28 winners but Bacsinszky's consistency won the day, hitting 29 unforced errors to Venus' 45.
"She just played well," Venus said after the match. "I think there were just some points where she just came up with great tennis a lot of the times in the second and the third set. You know, sometimes it's just bad luck."
The last American standing, Venus was also the last remaining woman who'd won a Grand Slam title, guaranteeing there will be a new major champion come Saturday's final.
It's the first time all eight women's quarterfinalists were seeking their first Grand Slam title since the 1979 Australian Open - won by Barbara Jordan in a 32-draw. The last time it happened at the French Open was 40 years ago in 1977, won by Mima Jausovec.
Up next for the No.30 seed is French No.1 Kristina Mladenovic, who stunned defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza in three sets earlier in the day. Bacsinszky won their most recent encounter a few months ago at Fed Cup.
"It's a great challenge. This quarterfinal will be probably very challenging for both of us. I know how many wins she has this year. She's one of the best players at the moment on The Race, like Venus, as well. I'm kind of playing the best players in The Race right now.
"I know that the crowd will not be with me, and it's okay. I will play for sure for myself, for my whole team, as well. I know that sometimes even a look in the eye of my coach is enough of a booster for me, because he gives me a lot of confidence.
"Well, maybe a lot of Swiss people will have bought tickets. I mean, Stan [Wawrinka] is doing amazing at the French. Me, it's my third time in a row in the quarters. Maybe it's going to be a lot of Swiss flags. You never know! But anyway, it's gonna be a fun one. I hope so."