It was a tale of two matches for both Elina Svitolina and Maria Sakkari on Friday in San Jose.

Top seeded Svitolina blitzed to a 6-1, 5-2 lead, dominating all aspects of the match. But when it was time to close it out, Svitolina succumbed to nerves, while Sakkari finally found the range on her penetrating forehand. After two hours and 32 minutes, the 'Spartan' emerged the victor, 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

"I don't know how I came back. I don't know where I found this power. Probably I have it deep inside. I'm a Spartan, so we don't forget that," Sakkari said on-court afterwards. "I'm super happy. I was playing very bad tennis. I was not moving, not reacting at all. I really don't know how I managed to wake up."

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'Spartan' Sakkari saves four match points, ousts Svitolina in San Jose

'Spartan' Sakkari saves four match points, ousts Svitolina in San Jose

(AP Images)

Sakkari was inspired by a spirited visit from coach Tom Hill, who implored the 24-year-old Greek to finish strong, no matter the result. Sakkari went on to save four match points in the second set, with plenty of help from her opponent, who could no longer muster the firepower that served her so well in the early stages of the match.

"When Tom came inside the court, he reminded me what happened in the final in Rabat against Konta. I was serving a double break down and I was like, I can do it again. If I did it once, I can do it twice, so I think that was the key," said Sakkari.

Sakkari is now one match away from defending her final-round points from last year. She will face Saisai Zheng, who defeated Amanda Anisimova late Friday night in three sets, in Saturday's semifinal.

'Spartan' Sakkari saves four match points, ousts Svitolina in San Jose

'Spartan' Sakkari saves four match points, ousts Svitolina in San Jose