Veronika Kudermetova wrapped up a victory in two hours on Wednesday, knocking out 2022 finalist Jessica Pegula 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 to reach a breakthrough semi-final at the Madrid Masters.
The WTA No. 13 had never advanced this far at the elite level, stalling three times at the quarter-final stage.
But the 26-year-old booked her third Tour semi-final of the season after Adelaide and Doha.
The winner was pleased to go through without playing a time-wasting marathon after her previous three matches here also lasted the full three sets.
Her second set heere – which she lost to love with 15 unforced errors – went for just 22 minutes before she stormed back in the third to clinch the final four place.
“Before this match, every match was almost three hours. Today, only two hours — I feel fresh!: she said.
“I feel also she was a little bit tired today. The first set was pretty good for myself.
“But in the second set Jessica started to play a little bit more aggressive.
“I was maybe a little bit tired, but to be honest, in the second set I started laughing, ‘Veronika, you want to kill yourself. Again, three-set battle.”‘
She said an attacking game in the final set paid off with the win. “It was very important to break her in the first game.”
Third seed Pegula lost the final a year ago to Ons Jabeur, unable to play this edition due to injury.
Kudermetova had lost four matches prior to Madrid, where she has turned her game around.