A candid Nick Kyrgios said rising to the big occasion was never likely to be a problem after his quarter-final victory over Rafael Nadal at the ATP Western & Southern Open, but conceded he has been guilty of tanking against lesser opponents.
Kyrgios dominated from start to finish in a match that lasted about an hour and 20 minutes.
The 22-year-old Australian will play Grigor Dimitrov for the title after the Bulgarian tamed the big serve of John Isner to win 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (12-10) in Saturday's earlier semi-final.
They will play the French pairing of Perre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut on Sunday morning NZT.
"I work every day to play better".
"So I hope to keep it going".
"Everyone is very, very sad", Nadal said. It was a bad match for me.
That break didn't come, even with Ferrer double-faulting to bring it back to deuce, as the match became a serving siege against the Spaniard's mental reserves.
In the second set, Nadal put up a good fight and saved match points in the ninth and 10th games. I used to play against him at Futures and Challengers.
In a match between two excellent servers both nearly looked stuned when their opponent actually managed to land a return but Kyrgios held his nerve in the third set to win.
The match was one of several postponed on Thursday due to rain, forcing players that advanced during Friday's daytime matches to return for an encore in the evening.
Nadal was somewhat rusty in beating fellow countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 (1) 6-2 earlier in the day but few would have expected his result against Kyrgios.
Ferrer prevailed 6-3 6-3 against Thiem for his first top-tier semi in two years.
"I feel pretty good", Pliskova said. "I recover well, so definitely I will be ready".
Halep eliminated British seventh seed Johanna Konta 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) to book a semi-final date with United States wild card Sloane Stephens.
Kyrgios defeated Ivo Karlovic to move into the quarter-finals in Cincinnati.