David Ferrer of Spain reached the first Grand Slam semi-final of his career on Thursday by defeating Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.
It was a breakthrough win for the bantamweight 25-year-old who defeated second-seeded compatriot Rafael Nadal in the previous round and who saved a match point against David Nalbandian in the third round before winning.
He will now take on either another Spaniard Carlos Moya or third seed Novak Djokovic for a place in Sunday's final.
"I am very happy because he was a litle tense in the first set. I am very happy as I am playing very well at this tournament," Ferrer said.
"It was very tough against Rafa, but I am very confident and with the support of the people it is unbelievable.
Ferrer, one of the fittest and most durable players on the circuit, took control of the exchanges from the start as Chela struggled to produce his best tennis following exhausting back-to-back five set wins against Ivan Ljubicic and Stanislas Wawrinka.
The Valencia resident comfortably took the first two sets despite Chela saving five sets points at 2-5 down in the second.
What looked like being a cakewalk for Ferrer took a new twist as Chela broke to lead 2-0 at the start of the third set.
But that proved to be short lived as the more lively looking Ferrer broke back immediately to level.
Chela held on grimly until 5-5 when Ferrer again ground him down to grab the vital break of serve.
It was Ferrer's first win over Chela in three matchups and it opens the door for him to step out of the giant shadow of Nadal, who assumed the mantle of top Spaniard from 1998 French Open winner Moya.
Against his potential semi-final opponents on Saturday, Ferrer has a 2-6 losing record against Moya and a 2-1 winning record against Djokovic.
Ferrer said he had no doubts about who would prefer to play.
"I would prefer Carlos as he is my friend and Spanish guy," Ferrer said.
The other semi-final will send top seed and defending champion Roger Federer of Swizerland against Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.