Tsvetana Pironkova reached the quarter-finals of the US Open on Monday, defeating France’s Alize Cornet in three sets.

The unranked Bulgarian, who only returned to tennis this year following a three-year absence from the circuit, secured her last eight berth with a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 victory at the Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Tsvetana Pironkova

Pironkova will now face third seed Serena Williams in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

 “It’s absolutely unreal, I really can’t believe it,” Pironkova said.

“Especially that I pulled through at the end of the match — I was exhausted.

“I didn’t think I had it in me but I just kept fighting and fighting and it paid off.”

It is only the fourth time in Pironkova’s career that she has reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam singles event, and marks her first quarter-final appearance at the US Open.

Pironkova’s last tournament appearance before this year’s US Open had been the 2017 Wimbledon championships when she exited in the second round.

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