Kiwi tennis player Erin Routliffe always believed she could make it into the second week of a Grand Slam.
The 26-year-old is New Zealand's only female competitor at the US Open.
“Knowing you can play with the best players in the world gives you confidence you can take [forward]," Routliffe said.
"Also, knowing that you can compete with some of them [gives you] a different type of confidence, so I'm looking forward to playing in bigger events for the rest of the year."
Despite coming so close to a major finals appearance - her third round exit is the best result she’s ever recorded at a major tournament, and has rewarded her with $38,000 in prize money.
“Definitely the best week of my career, of my life so far. Hopefully I'll have a better one soon but it means everything to me I worked so hard, this is what I work so hard for," Routliffe said.
Routliffe and her 19-year-old doubles partner Leylah Annie Fernandez lost in a nail-biting deciding set against Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse and Monica Niculescu on Tuesday morning.
However, it’s her doubles partner that’s become a break-out star at the US Open. Fernandez made headlines last week when she beat world number 2 Naomi Osaka on her way to making the US Open women's singles quarter-finals.
“This week being a break out for her is really inspiring to watch and be there and I was losing it every match she played I was screaming my head off,” Routliffe told 1 NEWS.
The pair joined forces after Routliffe texted Fernandez two weeks before the deadline asking if she wanted to team up and compete at the Open.
"We didn't expect much we just wanted to have a good time play really aggressively and have a lot of fun," Routliffe said.
Routliffe is a dual citizen of New Zealand and Canada.
She was born in New Zealand after her parents set off from Canada to sail around the world. They stopped in New Zealand to have kids and would stay for a further four years.
She’s now based in Montreal but does usually travel back every summer to train in the pre-season and play at the ASB Classic. However, she has been unable to do so for two years due to Covid-19.
She was hoping to get back to New Zealand for Christmas but with limited MIQ spots available a trip back looks unlikely.
"It is nice because in New Zealand it's hard obviously because there's not a lot of tennis players. We have them in the mens side like Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus, but in the womens, since Marina Erakovic it’s been tough as far as Grand Slams, so I am really excited to be the one from New Zealand. I hope I can continue to do that for years to come and make all the Kiwis proud," Routliffe said.
Routliffe has a busy end to the year with tournaments in both the United States and throughout Europe, before heading down under for the Australian Open.