Maria Sakkari is handling the pressure of playing as top seed in a WTA Tour-level tournament for the first time, as she put herself to within one win of the final at the St Petersburg Ladies Open.
The Greek world number seven saw off a stern test from Elise Mertens on Friday, winning 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 to reach the semi-finals.
Sakkari had to salvage three set points in the opener, but eventually came out on top in the tie-break at the first time of asking.
Even with a comfortable lead in the second set, she failed to take the first three match points on offer, but got the fourth over the line to progress to her first semi-final of the season.
Sakkari, 26, previously reached the St Petersburg semi-final in 2020, where she lost to Elena Rybakina.
"When you're down in the score, you try to play more aggressively and [Elise] was playing really good in the last couple of games," Sakkari explained.
"She came up with good serves and solid shots from the baseline. I just fought hard."
Irina-Camelia Begu stands in the way of Sakkari and a place in the final.
The unseeded Romanian overcame two-time grand slam champion Petra Kvitova in the last 16 and defeated Tereza Martincova 6-4 6-2 in her last-eight tie.
It took just 85 minutes for Begu to secure her place in a fourth semi-final of her career at WTA 500 level or higher, but the first since 2017 in Moscow.
18 IN A ROW!! @AnettKontaveit_ becomes the first player since Justine Henin in 2010 to win 18 consecutive matches indoors!— wta (@WTA) February 11, 2022
The No.2 seed will next face Ostapenko for a place in the #FormulaTX final pic.twitter.com/aG1OLzCDoG
Kontaveit continues remarkable indoor run
World number nine Anett Kontaveit will face Jelena Ostapenko in the other semi-final, after ousting Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Belinda Bencic 7-6 (9-7) 6-2.
After her defeat of Bencic, second seed Kontaveit has now won 18 successive matches at indoor tournaments. She is the first player since Justine Henin in 2010 to go on such a streak.
Last year, the Estonian won titles in Ostrava, Moscow and Cluj-Napoca, which form part of this run.
Ostapenko, meanwhile, beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 to take her place in the last four. The 2017 French Open champion has only lost to top-10 players so far in 2022 (Paula Badosa and Barbora Krejcikova).