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March 13, 2016

Nicole Gibbs

Indian Wells, California

N. GIBBS/Y. Shvedova

6-0, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How does it feel to be able to get through qualifying and now to the fourth round?
NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah, it's really exciting. This is, you know, my first kind of big result at one of the bigger events, so, you know, just came into this week looking to qualify, maybe win a round in main draw.

So definitely exceeded expectations thus far. Given that I'm here, I just want to keep going and see what I can do.

Q. Talk a little bit about the match today and how it broke out.
NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah. I just came out really focused today. I think that was, you know, how I got away with the first set so quickly. She might have started a little bit slower, picked up her game, started serving a little bit better in the second set.

So the second set was a little more competitive, but I just really felt -- you know, timing was great out there today. I was serving well, which is unusual for me. (Smiling.) Just, yeah, I was feeling it.

Q. Do you feel like you're maybe reading the game, like the pro level game, top level game, a little bit better now than when you left Stanford and got on tour?
NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah, I think it's part of it. I think the bigger part of it though is the coach I'm working with. I am working with Roger Smith, and he has turned my game around. We started at US Open. I had a pretty good fall in the challengers, and it just has felt like a really linear improvement for me.

So I think he's helping me to see the game differently. I'm not crediting myself with that.

But, yeah, he's done a really good job and we make a good team. I think that's showing in our results right now.

Q. Can you talk a little bit more specifically about that in terms of what he's been telling you or what you guys have been working on that you have seen translate? Because you're on quite the run now.
NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah, he's a really supportive person, just really, really positive. He's kind of complements my personality really well. We get along really well, which hasn't always been the case with my coaches in the past. I can be really stubborn. I can be a little difficult sometimes. He's been really great in that sense.

And then he just knows the game so well. Sees it so well. Gives me unbelievable game plans. You know, we have just been working really hard on making me more of an all-court player and a little bit less defensive.

Q. Does the fact that you have been here and played through quallies and had some really big wins give you some confidence going in to face Kvitova in your next match?
NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah, absolutely. I have played her a couple times before also on some big stages: center court at New Haven and center court at US Open; no, I guess it was Armstrong at US Open.

But I do feel like I've gotten to see what her level is like. Both matches have definitely been in her favor but competitive, so I'm just looking to hopefully get a bead on her serving early in the match. You know, see if I can make it into a slightly better match this time around.

Q. Anything about conditions here you think might work to your advantage or maybe be an obstacle?
NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah, I have been hitting the ball a little bit heavier, which I think picks up well on the slower courts. Maybe I'm throwing people's timing off, I'm not sure, but I have been enjoying the conditions out here.

I think it plays fast through the air but kicks up off the court, which is nice for me.

Q. How long did you live in Santa Monica? How old were you when you moved to Santa Monica?
NICOLE GIBBS: I lived in Santa Monica from the time I was 17, so like a year of high school and then my family lived there until I was like 20. I was at Stanford.

Q. Most of your life you lived in Ohio?
NICOLE GIBBS: I lived in -- it's confusing. I was born in Cincy, lived there until I was 3; then I lived in Cleveland from 3 to 14; then moved to Manhattan Beach and then in Santa Monica; now I'm in Marina Del Rey. (Smiling.) I have had a few residences.

Q. Did you have any kind of history with this tournament since it was so close?
NICOLE GIBBS: Not so much as a fan. I don't think I ever made it out here. Obviously I was very busy competing in my own junior events throughout high school, but I always did hear that this is one of the best fan experiences.

So that definitely stuck with me. Tried to take a little extra time with the fans because I know they are really enthusiastic about this particular tournament.

Q. What's the tennis scene like in Cleveland?
NICOLE GIBBS: Better than you'd think.

Q. Really?
NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah. It's pretty good, actually.

Q. I read about you from three years ago that you were very into surfing. Is that still the case? How serious is your surfing?
NICOLE GIBBS: It's very not serious. I went on a vacation with my boyfriend at the end of last year to Costa Rica to surf a little bit, but I'm riding ankle breakers, like three-foot waves maybe.

Q. You talked about being more aggressive and amping up your game a little bit more. A lot of players say that who may have traditionally been seen as like counter-punchers or defensive players. Do you think a defensive-minded player can be a top-10 player on tour these days the way the game has evolved?
NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah, absolutely. I think there are a lot of players who are known for their defensive skills who are in the top 10. You look at Radwanska, you look at Caroline Wozniacki -- okay, so Caroline is not top 10 this year, but I have every confidence that she'll be back there.

You know, veterans of the game who, you know, have offensive skills but, you know, they are bringing the paychecks home with the crazy defense and some awesome shot making from behind in the court.

So I think the key is that you need to have both, and those players do. They know how to step up when it matters. That's something that I have been integrating into my game. I definitely want to be a little bit maybe more aggressive than that at times, but that's kind of what I'm looking to do, be more of an all-court player.

Q. We look a lot in the media at career best wins, and we saw Madison I think was your best win ever by ranking. Is that important to you, the number, or is that win in any way important to you?
NICOLE GIBBS: No, I don't think the number so much is important. I think certain benchmarks are important, like a top 20 win, top-10 win. So it was definitely a big win for me, but I don't really look at it by the numbers.

I look at it as, Okay, I'm up against a girl who just made fourth round at Australian Open. Like, you know, just to kind of view where my level is at versus where it needs to be.

Because at the end of the day we see a lot of volatility on the WTA. So, you know, a top-20 player may not play like a top 20 on a given day. I'm definitely looking more at how I'm playing and how it's matching up against how other, you know, players are doing.

Q. With all the upsets happening at this tournament, does that give you more confidence that it is wide open?
NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah. I don't think I would call a tour with Serena Williams on it wide open. Other than that, yeah, I would say so.

Like I think a lot of us players in the, you know, 50 to 100 range are looking at these upsets and saying, Okay, this is something I can do.

Q. What then would be your most significant win in your mind of your pro career so far?
NICOLE GIBBS: The win against Madison the other night definitely ranks, but the one that I would look to as kind of the biggest hurdle to get over was my second round at US Open in 2014 taking out Pavlyuchenkova. I had match point in the second set, didn't get it, you know, and came back to rally in the third for the win.

That was during a tournament where I picked up my first and second Grand Slam wins ever. You know, I look back on that as a moment where I really proved to myself that, you know, I could do a lot of really good things under pressure.

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