Cincinnati - Olympic silver medalist Angelique Kerber stands just two wins away from the world number one spot after defeating Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters.
Kerber could overhaul long-time WTA number one Serena Williams if she wins the title on Sunday at the final major tune-up prior to the US Open. Williams pulled out of the tournament with an injury.
"It all feels amazing, I'm seeing all the hard work of the last few years paying off," said Kerber, 28, who beat Williams in the final of the Australian Open but lost to her at the same stage at Wimbledon.
"This is a moment for which I've been dreaming - and now I'm living the dream.
"It's been an incredible year for me. A lot of things have changed but I'll still a few matches away from number one.
"I'm not thinking about it, so let's see what happens in the next few days."
Kerber will now face third seed and 2015 finalist Simona Halep after the Romanian broke number five Agnieszka Radwanska eight times in a 7-5, 6-1 win.
Kerber, who lost to Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in the Olympic final, needed a fightback against Spain's Suarez Navarro to finally post her 46th victory of the season.
The German trailed 0-30 in the final game of the deciding set as she tried to serve it out, saving three break points and finally advancing in the summer heat on a third match point.
"It was not so easy to turn it all around in the second set. But I never doubted my game, I knew I could turn the match.
"I was going for my shots when I had the chance and trying to shorten the rallies. I believed in my game and fought to the last point. Now I'm through to the semis."
Czech fifth seed Karolina Pliskova advanced over Russian seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 and next plays fourth seed Garbine Muguruza, the French Open champion who beat Hungarian outsider Timea Babos 6-4, 6-3.
"I'm very excited that I'm in the semifinals here because, I haven't won a lot of matches here in the past," Muguruza said. "I think was a tough match.
"It was very equal, maybe a couple of serves and returns made the difference."
Results from the sixth day of the ATP Cincinnati Masters and WTA hardcourt tournament on Friday (x denotes seeded player):
Milos Raonic (CAN x4) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT x8) 6-3, 6-4
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 7-6 (10/8), 6-2
Marin Cilic (CRO x12) bt Borna Coric (CRO) 6-2, retired
Andy Murray (GBR x1) bt Bernard Tomic (AUS) 6-4, 6-4
Angelique Kerber (GER x2) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x9) 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x15) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x7) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Garbine Muguruza (ESP x4) bt Timea Babos (HUN) 6-4, 6-3
Simona Halep (ROM x3) bt Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x5) 7-5, 6-1