In her 52nd major, after 122 main draw matches, the Russian will play in her maiden Slam final on Saturday.
Her 7-5, 6-3 triumph over fellow first-time semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek on Thursday made her the first Russian to reach a major final since Maria Sharapaova lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open decider more than six years ago.
“It's been a long road. It's been a lot of ups and downs. It's been a tough one,” the 31st seed said. “I definitely didn't expect this year being in the final. I guess you can't expect those things.
“I was just there working hard, doing everything possible. I just said to myself, ‘You know what, this year let's do whatever it takes, anything you can do to improve your game, your mentality’. I started working with a sports psychologist, everything. Just, I wanted to give it a try so I have no regrets after.”