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May 12, 2016

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Rome, Italy

S. KUZNETSOVA/D. Gavrilova

6-2, 2-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Daria said -- obviously you two hadn't played before, and she was excited for this match. I was wondering, for you, what's it like to play kind of a younger Russian who may be...
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: And she was excited to play me?

Q. Yeah, because she looked up to you when she was younger and everything. And then also, how did you rate her game?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, I mean, I was a bit tense because I didn't know what to expect, basically. I was trying to figure out how I should play. I saw a couple games yesterday, but, I mean, it was weird game, not something to get example for today's game.

And I played her when she still didn't start to be in Australia. I played her once in Dubai. She played totally different game.

So, I mean, I know she's a fighter and she brings lots of balls back, she change the pace. Yeah, it was difficult match. But for her, it was, you know, different than for me. I'm kind of the favorite, kind of, you know. She had no pressure almost. Yeah, I mean, I just wanted to play my game basically and that's it and try to dictate.

Q. How did you feel, especially in the first and in the third set? Was that sort of the level you kind of expected from yourself coming into that match? Yeah, how do you rate those sets particularly? In the second set there was a bit of a dip but she started playing better. So the first and third set.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I played the match like my coach or made a plan for me or we made the plan. I played like that, like on the paper, the same thing, I played first set.

Second set she started to mix it up, do more dropshots, go for the shots because she basically understood that she had to change the tactics. And I start to play a little bit flatter and too fast for rallies, like kind of hard-court game.

And in the third set I had to kind of go back to the basics. I think I did it well, but still, the game I got broken I played pretty bad.

Q. Are you the type of player who, if you practice well you play the match well? Or, you know, some players say if I am practicing well I know I'm going to play a good tournament. Or practice doesn't matter as much?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I'm the kind of player when I play a lot of matches I'm playing good. Practice and matches, totally different thing. You know, like I kind of like past years I have been playing very well and I couldn't deliver it on the court. So my ranking was much lower.

Now I feel like I'm confident, I'm winning matches, and I'm doing better. I'm more confident in my game during the match. So that's what brings me success.

Q. You had said that in Miami that you were not sure how you were going to schedule your clay season because you wanted matches but maybe you wanted some rest and training blocks, as well. Are you happy with how you scheduled things? What was your decision there?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, I didn't know how to schedule it. It was Prague. I couldn't make it for Stuttgart, unfortunately. I love that event. I couldn't make it because I finished late Miami and I was tired and I had to take some time off. Then I wanted to prepare clay couple of weeks. And then I had -- my right hand I had Prague and then Madrid. I didn't want to go to Madrid without matches. Then I go to matches in Prague, and I didn't come on time to Madrid to play it with the altitude, and I played just horrible because, I mean, it's no way in one day to get used to the clay. So that kind of was a mistake, but then if you come to Madrid without matches it's also different.

So that was a little bit wrong for me. And then I have opportunity here in Rome, which I think I'm playing pretty well, I'm winning matches. So it's great.

Q. You obviously have a match coming up that you have had in Miami where you won against Serena in three sets. Now it's a bit more almost on your turf because you're probably, out of the two of you, one who prefers the clay a little bit more. How do you see that panning out tomorrow?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, Serena will be favorite, anyway, so that's cool (smiling).

Yeah, I mean, I won in Miami, but doesn't matter, you know. Serena is No. 1. She's playing great in any surface. She won it in any way.

And it just gonna be another great match, great opportunity for me to play and to enjoy my game, and I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Serena also said it's going to be a great test playing you. Do you see that the same way, great test for the French Open to see where you're at?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, I mean, I know where I am at. I feel great on the clay. I'm doing better. I have couple days off after here to prepare my things.

It's great to play top player on clay before French. It's amazing and it will be amazing match. And I know Serena will go for her best tomorrow. Doesn't surprise me, you know. I just want enjoy every match. That's was my goal for the year, and I don't care about anything else.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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