The 13th seed Belinda Bencic was one of the dark horses before the start of the US Open, knowing how to play at her best in New York after reaching the quarter-final on debut in 2014. The young Swiss had some ups and downs since then, struggling with injuries and starting all over a couple of years ago to get back inside the top-20 and become a contender for big titles.
Belinda is through to her first Grand Slam semi-final after a 7-6, 6-3 win over Donna Vekic in an hour and 41 minutes, continuing where she stopped against Naomi Osaka and looking good to go all the way and earn tennis glory.
Bencic delivered fury behind the initial shot, dropping only 19 points and facing one break point in the entire clash. Donna seized it although that wasn't enough to keep her in contention for longer, hitting more winners and unforced errors than Belinda and playing against eight break chances, giving serve away three times to finish on the losing side.
Returners had nothing to work with in the first eight games and that all changed while Bencic served at 4-4, dropping four straight points and suffering a break after a backhand error that sent Donna 5-4 in front. With no room for mistakes, Belinda created a break chance in the next game with a forehand winner and stole it with a deep return, leveling the score at 5-5 and earning a set point at 6-5.
Vekic saved it with a forehand winner to set up a tie break where Belinda grabbed two mini-breaks for a 7-5 after precisely an hour, closing the set when Donna sprayed a forehand error. Carried by this momentum, the Swiss lost only six points behind the initial shot in set number two, wasting a couple of break chances at 2-2 before breaking Donna at love in game seven thanks to another return to the Croat's backhand that forced an error and sent her in front.
A comfortable hold pushed Bencic 5-3 in front and it was all over after another break in game nine following a forehand mistake from Vekic, advancing into the last four and staying on the course for the first Grand Slam crown.