Swiss Bencic makes US Open semi-finals

Belinda Bencic

Belinda Bencic

Andreescu faces Belinda Bencic of Switzerland of Thursday night with a shot to become the first Canadian woman to reach a major final since Eugenie Bouchard did so in 2014 at Wimbledon.

Andreescu, a 19-year-old from suburban Toronto, downed 25th seed Mertens 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to book a Thursday clash against fellow Slam semi-final debutante Bencic, the Swiss 13th seed who beat Croatian 23rd seed Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/5), 6-3. "A year ago I was in the qualifying round".

Andreescu, a victor this year at Indian Wells and Toronto, is the first teen in the US Open's last four since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009.

"I'm honestly speechless. I need someone to pinch me right now".

Yes, it is real life.

"I think it's just the experience from playing these huge tournaments this past year", Andreescu offered as an explanation for digging out the gumption when needed.

"If someone had told me I'd be in the semifinal of the U.S. Open a year ago, I'd say you're insane".

Andreescu, making her first appearance at the U.S. Open, is the first Canadian woman to reach the semifinals of the final Grand Slam of the season in singles since Carling Bassett in 1984.

A season from dreamland rolls on - Andreescu taking her 12th consecutive three-setter, even on a night where, as she admitted, she didn't have her best tennis.

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Mertens broke for a 3-1 edge when Andreescu missed a backhand volley then held twice to claim the first set in 38 minutes. I was getting a little bit irritated because I didn't think I was playing my best tennis. They traded breaks early in the second set and this time it was Andreescu who had the upper hand on the return, breaking at love in game six after a powerful return and clinching the set with a forehand victor at 5-2 to gain the momentum ahead of the decider.

Mertens was resilient and saved numerous break points during the match - Andreescu finished with 4-of-16 break points converted - to set up a back and forth duel.

"I've been working a lot on my fitness and mental strength", said Andreescu.

The result puts another notch on Andreescu's remarkable streak of 22 straight victories in completed matches, which dates to late February.

"Through the tough times it helped me to see a little different way the tennis when you can't always play", Bencic said. Mertens obviously realized her best chance lay in long rallies - there were quite a few of those, up to 18 strokes exchanged - and staying away, as much as possible, from Andreescu's lethal forehand.

"I really like the challenge".

The 25th-seeded Bertens, who had cruised into the quarter-finals without allowing more than three games in a set, was locked in from the jump and broke Andreescu in the fourth game of the opener before serving out the set in drama-free fashion.

Andreescu held to love in the fifth game, which featured her most blistering serve of the match - 111 m.p.h. On a pair of occasions, she smacked the ball after a point - clearly upset with her play. "I felt like I couldn't get three good points together".

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