LONDON: Kazakh Elena Rybakina said she was not expecting to reach the second week at Wimbledon let alone the final after booking her place in Saturday's showpiece against Tunisia's Ons Jabeur.
Russian-born Rybakina produced a devastating display of power hitting to oust former champion Simona Halep 6-3 6-3 on Thursday and reach her first Grand Slam final.
The world number 23 had never previously gone beyond the fourth round at the All England Club and had not progressed past the quarter-finals at any major.
With injuries hampering her preparation, the 17th seed did not think she would be one game away from taking the title at the tournament's outset.
"Yes, I didn't expect that I was going to be here in the second week, especially in the final," she said.
"I believed that I had the game to go far in the Grand Slams. Of course, I believed that maybe one day I could win it.
"It was tough because I had injuries, I didn't have good preparation, and it was not the moment when I'm just going up with my results. So, of course, I came a bit more relaxed since I knew that I didn't have good preparation.
"Maybe this is something that also helps me to get through all these matches. I can say that this is really the first time when I enjoyed every day of playing and just being on the tournaments."
Jabeur stands between Rybakina and a remarkable first Grand Slam success and the 23-year-old knows what to expect from the third seed.
"Of course I'm going to be nervous," she said. "Everybody is probably nervous when they are going to play on Centre Court and if it's a final.
"But it's a challenge for me to be stable, to be strong mentally, and try to do my best.
"I know how Ons plays. She knows how I play. We know each other well. We see how it's going to go. But ... I'm going to try to do my best."