After 14 years of hard work Sorana Cirstea got her reward on Sunday, returning to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2009 with a 6-3 6-3 upset of 15th seed Belinda Bencic at the US Open.
Making her 59th Grand Slam main draw appearance and 15th at the US Open, the 33-year-old Romanian's only other last eight appearance was at the 2009 French Open when she was still in her teens.
Now Cirstea becomes the oldest woman to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the first time.
"Unfortunately in tennis, not all the work you've put in is always rewarded," said Cirstea. "So it's nice to work hard and also get the reward.
"I don't think there is any magic thing or any key. I wish I had one I can turn it on and off.
"Sooner or later if you put in the hard work, it comes."
The upset is just the latest in what has been a remarkable run for the Cirstea, who had already delivered one of the big Flushing Meadows shocks taking out fourth seed and 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the third round.
There had been signs this year that Cirstea was capable of a deep run at Flushing Meadows after she reached the quarter-finals at Indian Wells, losing to world number one Iga Swiatek, and following that result by getting to the Miami semi-finals.
Next up for the Romanian is Czech 10th seed Karolina Muchova who advanced with a 6-3 5-7 6-1 win over China's Wang Xinyu.
It will mark the fourth time the two have clashed this year, with Muchova winning in Dubai and Montreal and Cirstea coming out on top in Miami.
"We've had very tough matches, very tight battles every time we played against each other," said Cirstea. "This year we played three times so I think we know each other quite well.
"I'm really expecting a tough one. But again, I'm very happy and grateful to be here."