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September 7, 2015

Victoria Azarenka

New York, NY, USA

V. AZARENKA/V. Lepchenko

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What were the keys to today's win, do you think?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Just being solid, being aggressive, dictating the play. Her ball is a little bit unpredictable. You know, sometimes it comes fast and heavy; sometimes it comes high and slow. So it's a little bit more difficult to time.

But just really being solid and stepping up and trying to control.

Q. Was it easy to recover from the previous match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I had a day, so it was not bad. I'm pretty fit, so...

Q. Did you get any sense playing today that maybe that match against Kerber kind of unlocked some of your best game? Because you have been playing some good tennis, it seems.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know if it's unlocked. I mean, my game was not really a problem. It was just being able to find your rhythm and find the way to apply that game on the certain moments in the tough situations.

So I think that was more of -- I wouldn't say mental, but just more of a consistency. I think it's all coming, you know, from probably March is a progression slowly, improving every match to match. I could see the improvement already I have done from Toronto to here. So I think it's just on the roll of a progression.

Q. How much has hiring Sascha helped you? I think you hired him around March. What has he helped change?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, to change, there's not much I think that I can really change at this point to improve to get those details together.

But what Sascha brought is a lot of great, positive energy, a lot of motivation. He's a type of guy that pushes you in practice. I felt that I have been missing that a little bit of an extra. Sometimes somebody brings you extra ball or you think it's a winner, and he just grinds and pushes me, frustrates me sometimes during practice.

But that's what your opponent does on the match, so to reproduce that in practice, it helps you to be able to do that in a match.

Q. Because of his working with Serena, how much has that helped you, do you think? Does he tell you much about how to play her or about what he has done in the past to help her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Not really because it's a different approach. We are not the same players. We don't have the same game. We don't have the same body type.

It's difficult to compare. I don't like comparison, anyway. I like to do things my way. I always like to listen, you know, from the past experience, but I've got my own path and I'm going to walk it. (Smiling.)

Q. Since they are still out there playing, we don't know who your next opponent will be.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: What's the score?

Q. Lisicki won the first set.

Q. And they are very different players. So would you take each one separately and maybe describe the specific challenges, first if you were to face Halep, and then if you were to face Lisicki?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, as you said, they are very different. I don't even know how many times I have played Simona. Sascha told me three times and I remember only once. I have no idea. And it's been a while.

So for me, if it will be Simona it will be a little bit new, I would say, because, you know, she improved so much since the last time we played. She's definitely a favorite. She's been in top 3 for quite a while, winning big matches.

So either way I have to focus on my game and try to be aggressive, to be dominant.

Sabine has a big serve, so that's something that, you know, you try to neutralize and bring as many balls as possible back off her first serve.

But just to be steady, to be aggressive, cover my court, come in to the net maybe once in a while. We'll see. I don't know.

Q. What do you make of how Halep has risen and in sort of a quiet way she's ascended to No. 2 and been such a consistent player.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I mean, consistency is a key to stay up at the top, you know. She had quite a few remarkable runs at the Grand Slams, but she's been really solid on all the WTA events.

I think her game speaks for itself. She's very solid from the baseline. She has kind of all the shots. For not such a tall player she has a pretty good serve.

So she has a lot of weapons.

Q. When you came off the court the other day you seemed really excited to have been part of a slugfest, a tight and tough match. I'm wondering if that's the kind of match that really gets you going rather than more a awkward match like today or a match where you even beat someone badly?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Honestly, I don't really care as long as I win. As long as I have another opportunity to go out there and play, I will take it in any way.

But definitely to have such a match of high quality that it was in the third round and then being able to overcome all those challenges, it's remarkable. Definitely very satisfying.

But today it's a fourth round. The other day was third round. To measure them, I don't know.

Q. So if you come out of that match the loser, what would your feeling have been?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I would never even think of that. It's irrelevant question to me.

Q. Genie Bouchard just withdrew with a concussion. You suffered a mild concussion in 2010. How bad was it at that point and what were the steps to come back?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It was unlucky. You know, to me it was really unlucky. It is unfortunate for her. You don't want to see anybody going through an injury like this. Any injury, but this specific case.

It's unfortunate, especially, you know, she's been coming back and playing quite solid. But there is no much you can do. You know, you fell. I don't know, she hit her head. That's not much you can do. It's just unfortunate, I guess.

Q. How long did it take for you to get back on court after you had the concussion?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Pretty quick, actually. It wasn't -- I actually, when I fell and I got concussion I was racing to the court 15 minutes after I fell, so that's why I collapsed on the court.

So that wasn't probably a very smart move, but I didn't know what I had at that moment. But other than that, I actually don't remember. I think I played my next tournament. I obviously took a week off, but I did all the tests in the hospital, all the tests for eyes and eye check, so I was okay after.

I hope she will be, too.

Q. What do you think the Williams sisters' rivalry, when Serena and Venus play, has meant to the sport?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, it has a huge impact. I think, you know -- I don't know if you can call it the Williamses' era, but they brought something new to the women's game. You know, the power that -- probably the most obvious thing is power, but determination and the champions' mentality, pushing each other all the time and have these amazing battles that they had in the finals and semifinals.

I think it's just exciting. To see sisters fight this way I think it's pretty exciting for the sport.

Q. How does it make you feel when you watch sisters battling it out?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I don't have a sister, so I don't know. (Smiling.) I have a brother, and we never play tennis together. I think it would be tough, but in the other way it's kind of fun that you have your sister on tour with you.

Even though you have to be on the opposite side of the net sometimes, most of the other times you're on the same -- you know, you have each other's backs. I would say it's pretty exciting.

Q. What do you think you have to do to finally beat Serena in a Grand Slam?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Let's talk about when I play her, okay? Thanks.

Q. Does it feel differently after your injury last year to make it this far at a slam? Quarterfinals at Wimbledon; quarterfinals here again.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's pretty good, but I'm not satisfied yet. My tournament is not over, so I'm not thinking about if it's good enough. Until I play my last point of the tournament here it's still -- the mindset is on the present.

Q. So there is no amount of satisfaction for you getting this far? You still want to go further?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I'm happy today but I'm looking forward to my next match. I'm going to enjoy it today, but I can't be too happy.

Q. Can you explain again the tape on above your biceps.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You want a cool story or the other one? I think the cool story is how it's a little better. I honestly never had anything like this. Maybe just a little bit of allergic reaction to a material or something, or dryness. I don't know. I just had like a blister kind of rubbing against my, I don't know, against my skin or my material.

It's just like burning sensation when I touch it. It's kind of like a blister. So I just put the tape around so it doesn't bother me.

Q. Do you have blisters on both sides?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, because I play -- maybe I should play a little bit more away so I don't touch myself. But it's just a little -- you know, give myself a little bit more space. That's another tip. (Smiling.)

Q. They did a good job, because it looked like you just came from the tattoo parlor or something.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, that's -- who did the tape?

Q. Who did the tape job, yeah?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I did, with the help of the WTA physios. I did it yesterday. I think I saw this group of my fans. They have, you know, dedicated group for me. They post all the pictures and stuff, and they were freaking. Like, What happened to her arms? What is it? What is going on?

You know, I had an opportunity to explain this today, and I hope they are not gonna be too worried, or anybody else.

Q. Will they change your outfit at all or different material?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm going to look for something that matches a little better. I got to keep my swag on.

Q. You have been for a while a big supporter of Argentina national team, and Messi in particular. Have you seen his performance last week, and do you expect to watch the game tomorrow?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I haven't because of the time difference and being a little bit busy. I'm going to try to rewatch it, but, I mean, he's just incredible. What he does on the football field is just unbelievable. I had a pleasure of watching him in the stadium one time, and to me, it was amazing the way he just walks side to side during the game and once he had that opportunity, he just creates magic.

It's like watching a video game, so it was really exciting.

Q. (Question regarding similarities between tennis and football/soccer.)
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Absolutely opposite, because they play with their feet. We play with our hands. I wouldn't say that I'm that crafty as he is with his feet, but I'm getting there. (Smiling.)

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