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January 27, 2016

Angelique Kerber

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A. KERBER/V. Azarenka

6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A couple big matches against her, in Brisbane and US Open. How do you think you were able to make this one go your way?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, you know, I won against her for the first time. Does feel really good. Before I went on court also yesterday I was practicing in my practice to be more aggressive.

I played very well. I mean, I was playing my game from the first point. Also when I was down 2-5, I was actually, yeah, playing more aggressive on this time. I think that was the key.

I served very well and was moving good. I think the key from this match was that I was playing and I won the match. She doesn't lose it; I actually won it.

Q. You held your nerve better or you were more aggressive?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think it's both of these. You know, when I was 4-0 up in the first set, my nerves came a little bit. I was feeling it. It was close that it was 4-4. I was able to do the 5-3 in the first set, so that was a really important moment in the first set.

Then I was just trying, you know, to focus on my game, to be aggressive, to be the player who makes the winners and who is going for it. I was not thinking too much about the score, I was just trying to focusing more to play a good match, to play my game like I played in the practice. That was the whole time until the last point in my mind.

Q. You lost two Grand Slam semifinals, both against top-10 players. You're playing an unseeded player. Is this your real opportunity to take the next step?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, actually it doesn't matter against who I'm playing in the semis. I mean, who is in the semis played very good four matches actually, or five matches. I think I will just try to focusing on my game, as well. I mean, I will try to not thinking against who I'm playing. I will just try to focusing like today, to be aggressive, more focusing on my game, and then let's see how far I can get here.

Q. Your clutch serving was a highlight. Is that something you were focusing on?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was focusing on my serve the last few weeks or months actually. I think I improve my serve a lot in the last few weeks. Of course, still I can improve it.

But I'm feeling good with my serve. I have a lot of more confidence than the last few tournaments. It's getting better from round to round here.

Q. Was the key going to the forehand?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I was trying to go, of course, more to the forehand. But it's, of course, tough against her. She's playing, yeah, very strong and very hard. I was trying going of course more to her forehand but still going to the backhand, just taking my first chances I could get.

We played a lot of matches in the past. I had few chances in the past few matches and I didn't take it. That was also the key of this match, to just take the first chance.

Q. You visited Steffi Graf awhile ago. What was it like to be with her?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, you know, Steffi is a champion. Like I said before, she won everything. She's a great person, as well. I was able to practice with her like few days just before Indian Wells last year.

But she taught me actually that I'm on a good way and try to believe in myself. I was trying to do it in the last few months also. I played good matches, tough matches also against Vika in New York, and Brisbane's final, it was a tough one.

I was going out there today with a lot of confidence and trying to believe really in myself and just going for my shots, trying to play good tennis. Yeah, I'm happy about my game, how I'm playing today.

Q. What about the four tournaments you won last year, does that build your confidence, or are the slams just a whole 'nother thing?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, of course, I won four tournaments last year. Like two years ago I was in four finals and I lost all four.

I was trying also to prepare more for the big tournaments because I was not playing well last year on the majors. That was also the goal for this year. I'm in the semifinals right now. Yeah, I think everything is in a good way.

Q. How much of an inspiration was Steffi for you growing up?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: A lot. She was my idol. She still is my idol. She's a German. She also makes the tennis in Germany very big. For sure when I was growing up, I was watching Steffi.

Q. Do you remember any of her matches in particular?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I remember actually a lot of matches. Every match was very fast from her. Everything was like 6-1, 6-0. I remember the finals in the Grand Slams what she won. I was also watching a lot on YouTube sometimes how she was playing with her slice, how she's moving. That was very, yeah, amazing actually.

Q. In Brisbane you said you were trying to be more aggressive to win matches, to take the match, as opposed to stand there and hope the other person loses. How much has that been a change in your mentality? Have you always thought that or...
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It's changed. It was not always like this. In the past I had a lot of matches where I was hoping, just trying to moving, catching every ball. But against top players, like also Vika, you must going for it. I think I had a lot of experience from the last few years that I must going for it. Of course, it's not so easy to doing this. I can say it here and it's easy, but to doing this, it's not so easy.

I was trying to learn it and to do it in every match. Of course, also the first few rounds I was not going for every situation or for every chance I had. I was match point down in the first round. I think I played every match better and better.

Yeah, against Vika today I was going for it, so I was able to win the match.

Q. In the semifinals you're going to play against a player who is a lot less experienced than you, whether it's Konta or Zhang. How do you think you'll handle that?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It doesn't matter against who I'm playing, Konta or Zhang. They have nothing to lose. They will just trying to enjoy the semifinal, like me of course.

But I will try to not focusing that it's the semifinal, it's a Grand Slam. I will just trying focusing doing the same stuff I'm doing before every match, focusing on my game. Also going out there to win the match, to be aggressive, take my first chances I can get.

They are also dangerous. They beat great players here in the last 10 days. Yeah, I must play the best tennis tomorrow for sure.

Q. You were talking a lot about the mentality. Have you done any work with a sports psychologist?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No, actually I know everything (laughter). I heard so many things in the last two years about these things. But it's tough to do it. This is actually that what you must do it on court in the important moments. Of course, I'm trying this in a lot of matches. Sometimes it works, sometimes it's not working so good.

But, yeah, I'm trying to be more quiet, more focusing on the point I'm playing right now and not thinking what was happen, what will happen.

Q. You will use that probably tomorrow because the danger would be thinking about making your first final?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, of course. For sure I will not thinking about this. I will try to focusing just on the next match, which is tomorrow. That's in my mind to play good tennis again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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