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September 4, 2019

Belinda Bencic

New York, NY, USA

B. BENCIC/D. Vekic

7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Considering where you stand right now in the tournament, how good do you feel about that?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, obviously very good. Now after the match, the emotions are still here. Just very happy about it, for sure. I knew today was going to be a very difficult match. Donna is in great form now. She showed it again today.

I think we played a very good match with high-quality rallies. It was definitely not easy. I'm happy. I don't know, I stayed calm in the important moments. Yeah, I just managed to win.

Of course semifinals feels great right now.

Q. When you were fighting back from injuries, did you envision this day coming? What was your attitude then?
BELINDA BENCIC: Well, I was dreaming, of course, about this day coming, but you never know what's going to happen. You're not thinking about it. You're just right in the moment. Either you're practicing or focusing on your match.

I worked hard for this. It's not like I never imagined I could do this. Still, like, I stayed in the moment. Yeah, very nice feeling.

Q. What is the one challenge that Andreescu and Mertens present to your game?
BELINDA BENCIC: I will definitely watch their match tonight. I think it will be an entertaining match with lots of long rallies.

For sure Andreescu has a lot of variation in her game. Mertens is more like a wall-type of game. She's a great counter-puncher.

Definitely I'm very curious who is going to win and adapt to the opponent in the semifinals.

Q. You know Donna pretty well. Tactically and emotionally how difficult is it to play someone you know well, knows your game pretty well, such a big opportunity today?
BELINDA BENCIC: Well, of course, we practiced a lot of times together. We kind of know each other's game well. But I think on the tour, everyone practices with everyone, so it's no secret of how you play. I think everyone knows how you play.

It was for sure I thought kind of nice that we get to play each other in such an important match, quarterfinals. Nice for us both to be here.

Again, like I said, we are professionals enough, we know how to be friends outside the court, and on the court to focus. Obviously we don't want to gift it to the other player, even if we are friends.

Still I think a very nice tournament for us both.

Q. Serena has been at it for over 20 years. She says it's because of the love of the game and most of all because she loves wins. What do you love about the game? What sort of feelings does it bring you?
BELINDA BENCIC: Who doesn't love wins? I mean, it's the best feeling in the world. I think that's why we tennis players play. For sure when you lose, it's the worst feeling. It's very bitter. Still I think the winning feeling, it's even nicer. We go out there and we play to win.

What I love most about it is definitely the competition, just these type of matches. Yeah, that feeling right after you do the match point is the nicest one.

Q. How has that sustained you with what you've gone through during a relatively long journey?
BELINDA BENCIC: Well, it's there like a dream always. Even when you are playing bad, you want to come back to this feeling. You want to eventually get the big wins and have these nice feelings.

I think that's the motivation enough to keep going.

Q. The match today was basically even until the early second set. I think you won eight points in a row, took control. What swung the match at that point?
BELINDA BENCIC: I think it was small points that changed the whole match. It was, of course, very tight even in the second set. Yeah, I think so.

I tried to put a little bit more variation in the game. I tried to play a little bit smarter. I'm happy my serve helped me in these important moments, even though I did some double-faults which I didn't like. But still...

Yeah, that's all I can say. Just remaining calm in these moments. Maybe a little bit of luck, too, with the net cord.

Q. The previous press conference you said people think you are older than your actual age because you have been on the tour for a long time. Do you consider yourself a veteran already?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I'm a senior. I'm retiring soon (laughter).

Q. Maybe 'veteran' is not a good word. Do you feel like you have been here for a long time? It's been five years since you've been in a quarterfinals here.
BELINDA BENCIC: Well, I don't know. I don't call myself a veteran. I just call myself, I don't know, a player that maybe has some experience probably, a little bit more than for my age.

But, yeah, I'm not a junior, I'm not a newcomer. I don't know. I'm something in between, like an older young player maybe.

Q. Back when you made the quarterfinals here before, how do you compare what you thought back then your reaction might be to making a semifinal here at the US Open, how do you compare that to where you are now, how you take this result, how you're reacting to this entire two weeks?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I still don't know. I'm fresh off the court. But still, I mean, it feels amazing. For sure it's something that, I don't know, didn't come from nothing. I still worked very hard for it. I feel like kind of I deserve this. I think it's a very nice feeling.

I think we, yeah, winning the quarterfinals is obviously a step more than last time when I lost. I was 17 then. I think playing quarterfinals was already very great. I don't think that was a disappointment losing that.

But still, like now, today, I felt really that I could take it even though I was very nervous before the match obviously. Yeah, just great feeling.

Q. Could you have believed or are you surprised that you were the last Swiss standing in singles?
BELINDA BENCIC: This is not a good thing. I'm not happy about this actually.

Yeah, I'm kind of surprised, like I think everyone is. It would be really nice if the boys could also make it to semifinals. But I'm happy I can kind of do it for them and don't let them down.

Q. You got to Toronto quite a ways ahead of that tournament. How has your game advanced since then? Was that a good idea to get there so soon?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I think it was a good idea. I like to go to tournaments and prepare. I came here already after Cincinnati, so I have plenty of time to prepare here.

I don't know, my game didn't change much. Obviously just tried to improve. I think the first tournaments of every swing you kind of get used to playing again. Normally after Wimbledon, you have a little bit off.

Yeah, you're just trying to get into the rhythm, get match play, get used to the mental toughness again. I think the Grand Slams are most important, of course.

Q. You mentioned the dream a couple of times now. Talk a bit more about that dream, just Grand Slam success, US Open specifically?
BELINDA BENCIC: I think the dream of every tennis player obviously is to win the biggest tournaments. I think for sure being No. 1 in the world or winning a Grand Slam is always a dream. But I think it's still a long way to that. Of course, I think you can see it there.

I think the work and staying in the moment is more important right now. Just taking it step by step, like I said all my career. I know it sounds boring. It's how you have to approach it.

You cannot think too far ahead because I think that's just going to kind of make it more difficult or maybe add some pressure or something.

Yeah, I'm just trying to get a step closer to that every day. Today I am a step closer.

Q. Players have up and downs in matches. You seem to be able to get frustrated and shake it off, play well again. Anything specific you do to adjust? How do you refocus after getting frustrated?
BELINDA BENCIC: I think sometimes I need to get frustrated. I feel like I let it out. I feel a little bit better after. I start to play better, I'm more pumped. Sometimes this happens with me.

I'm trying to work on my staying emotionally calm in the matches. But, yeah, I have no trouble focusing after, like, being angry a little bit.

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