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September 8, 2016
New York, NY, USA
K. PLISKOVA/S. Williams
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Quite a performance tonight. Did it help you that you had played Venus two nights earlier and experienced the whole crowd being for your opponent and all that?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would say yes, definitely. Not only the crowd. I would say also the game was quite similar to Venus, so I knew it's gonna be a little bit about the same match what I played with Venus and same serving, same speed.
So obviously Serena is No. 1. Venus is a little bit behind her. She's definitely playing a little bit better. I was expecting tough match but I knew I can win.
Q. Can you compare your performances in the two matches? Which match was a more satisfying performance from your end?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, to beat Serena, she's world No. 1, so it's always tough to beat someone like this. She's never giving up. Even if she's losing, not playing her best, it's always tough to beat girls like this.
I would maybe say it was a little bit tougher to play Venus because obviously I was match point down and she was serving much better than Serena was tonight.
Even my game I think was a little bit better against Venus, but I'm not sure what my coach is gonna say and what all the people is gonna say. Obviously I beat No. 1. Everyone is gonna say it's amazing win tonight. But, I mean, both matches were very good.
Q. You have the Cincinnati win. A lot of confidence. Now you're in your first Grand Slam final. What's that mean?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: It was always a dream to, you know, get a title, get to the semifinal, get to the final. So, I mean, it's a big result for me. I hope I didn't stop yet, that there is still one more step to go. I'll do anything for getting the title.
Even if I don't get it, it's a big result. I'm really happy to be there and even have the chance to play in the final here. It doesn't happen often, you know, that you're playing especially semifinal against Serena on center court here in New York. It doesn't happen often that you're in the final of Grand Slams.
I'm really excited to be there and really excited to be in a Grand Slam final for first time in my life.
Q. How did you stay so calm? In fact, were you that calm?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Actually, yes, I was pretty calm today. Before the match I felt a little bit like pressure, nervous, some kind of -- but when I step on the court I didn't feel anything. I just, you know, wanted to win, actually. Not just enjoy but to win.
I knew I'm going to have my chances even if she's playing her best. There is always a chance in those two sets. I was calm during the whole match. Even in the second set there was some complications. I was up a break.
But it never can be so easy to play No. 1 in the world. You cannot win like 6-2, 6-1, so I wasn't expecting a match like this. I was prepared for anything, even if I would have lose the second set I would be ready for the third one.
Q. Most people would not want to play Venus and then Serena in a row. From what you're saying, it sounds like it actually helped you to play Venus first, from the atmosphere and maybe also from the serving, returning?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, there is not more than to beat both sisters in one tournament in New York. I'm really excited about those two wins.
For the crowd, it's not probably the best that I beat both of them in their country, but for me it's really something special. Obviously the match with Venus helped me, like I said, not only with the game, but also with the crowd, also. Was my first match on center court.
So I knew I was to play center court one of the sisters Williams against all the people there, so I was prepared for it. I was prepared for a fast game, for great serving, and probably it helped me. That's why maybe I won the match today.
Q. You're one of the taller players on tour, especially one of the top players. How do you think that helps in terms of your serve, and what effect does it have, good or bad, in terms of movement and returning?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely if you are tall like me you cannot be run from the runners. With the movement, I was always a little bit struggling, but I still think I'm improving and there is still much work to do. Still much things to improve.
I'm always gonna, you know, work on this, and obviously, on the other hand, it's a big thing for me that I can really serve well in important moments and beat players not only with my serve. Even if the serve is off, I can still -- you know, I have forehand, backhand, good shots from the baseline.
I can really be aggressive and not the one who is waiting for a mistake, but the one who is doing the winners. So I think it's a big plus.
Q. You said that you believed before you stepped on the court that you could win tonight and you could beat Serena. When did you first start to believe that you could pull off wins like this? Because I'm not sure that you necessarily always thought that when you were on tour.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn't thinking about to beat Serena before this tournament at all because I never faced her. I faced her once, but I never faced her since then and never on Grand Slam and never on a stage like this.
But once I beat Venus here I knew I'm playing good tennis and I have a chance to beat anyone in the tournament. I was ready for anything.
But actually, to be honest, when I was watching Serena last night against Simona they were playing really good tennis. I thought, Okay, this is going to be tough even if Simona is going to win or Serena is going to win. They were playing amazing tennis. I knew it was going to be tough.
But I didn't want to get into the long rallies with her. That's what they were playing yesterday. I was just getting my chances and putting the pressure on her. I think it paid off.
But I didn't believe in beginning of the match that I can beat her. Since the match was going I knew I can, you know, get the win.
Q. You had some double faults today, but you shouldn't be discouraged because I did some mathematics. You won only 38% of points off the second serve, but made 56% of first serve and won 80-something points. For today's statistics, the better strategy would be hit first serve and second serve. Did you ever think about hitting first serve and second serve on regular basis?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I knew I'm going to be with pressure once I hit my second serve, once I missed the first serve, that she's gonna go into my second serve with power and I'd be under the pressure.
I just wanted to serve as many first serves as I can, but you cannot just put the first serve in there. I think I started really good and she was guessing a little bit the sides of my first serve. So I knew I can, you know, hit some big serves.
Even if it's not an ace it still can be still a point for me. But obviously on the second serve it's tough, because like I said, she's putting so much pressure on the second serve that's. Why the few double faults.
I wanted to risk, go more into her body. I did few more double faults obviously, but I still think it paid off.
Q. You said on television that America doesn't like you. What is it like to be out there, a single athlete in a stadium with 20,000, 23,000 people roaring and cheering for your opponent?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn't thinking about it at all. I knew it's gonna be tough, that I'm going to be against everyone almost there.
But I have my people here. I have people at home which they always believe in me. So I knew I have some people behind me. I don't really care about the whole stadium was for her. I just, you know, didn't want to get focused on those people, because once I get to think about that everyone is cheering for her and that, I don't know, they are screaming in between first and second serve it would just hurt my serve.
So I just wanted to get this out of the game and just be ready for my game and not to think about other things around.
Q. You beat Kerber a couple weeks ago and you stopped her from becoming No. 1. Now you beat Serena. You helped her actually get the position. So bottom line, you beat the two No. 1s in a couple of weeks. How important for your confidence is to do such a result? Actually, going to the final, you could face Kerber possibly. What do you think about the eventual head to head?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, in Cincinnati I knew Angie, she's playing for world No. 1, so I think she kind of felt some pressure there.
So, you know, I was really going for my win there and got the win, which gave me a lot of confidence.
And right now I knew Angie beat Serena. I knew few other girls beat Serena, so I knew that I could beat her, as well. It's a great thing to beat a girl which is No. 1, girl which is No. 2.
So it's always a good result, even if you beat someone from top 10. It's not happening often and there are always tough matches with the girls from top 10. So I'm really excited about it.
Obviously if I play Kerber tomorrow I'll know her very well. We played a lot of times. I lost to her; I won. So I will be ready for anything. That's a final of a Grand Slam, so anything is possible. Of course, probably nerves from both sides. We both have a good chance to win.
But, yeah, I will just do anything to win the title here.
Q. Were you aware that Serena was dealing with a knee injury? She talked about it a little bit here. Her coach certainly talked about it. Could you feel that on the court or did you have no knowledge of it?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No. I didn't know it at all. After the match they asked me in the studio. Even my coach said something to me after the match.
But I'm not, you know, looking at the opponents at all between the points. It's just not my business. I'm still talking and concentrating on myself and not on them. I would say it would be not be a good thing if I just, you know, keep on looking at her if she's injured or not.
Just would not be the best for me. I still have to play my game and not think about the others.
Q. I know you skipped Rio, and other players did that, as well. What's happening here? Why are you going to another level? What other factors is it that are making you play well now and take you to another level, do you feel?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely it was about those last two, three weeks what I have played here in States and I won good matches. It gave me a lot of confidence, and that's what tennis is all about.
If you believe in yourself you can beat anyone. Especially in girls tennis it's not only about a game and tennis, but it's more about the mental things sometimes.
So I really believe now that I can beat a good players, and -- all of the players, actually now.
But for me, I think the most important step was to get through to the fourth round. Then I knew I have -- if I have the chance to play someone who is better than me, I know I can be dangerous.
Q. Last night you were watching Serena and Simona. This morning you have to play this match. What were you doing today before the match? Like how did you wake up? Eat breakfast? What did you do?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I actually didn't have any breakfast. I woke up at 1:00, so I went straight to the lunch. I just wanted rest because I never played a night session here.
We just came later here, had a lunch around the hotel, and then just had a normal warmup, and, you know, kind of more relaxing start of the day.
I just wanted to be ready physically and also mentally for the match tonight.
Q. What do you remember about when Serena and Venus, 14 years ago basically in every Grand Slam final? Do you remember following them, what they meant to you, or starting in tennis?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely they did a lot for tennis. And both of them, they are such a great champions. You can still see it, even now. Even if they lose they are still behaving like champions.
Of course I remember them playing, but I think Serena improved a lot in last few years. She's just doing very good job. Like I said, last few years she's world No. 1. She's still playing not that many tournaments and she's still there, you know.
She can still hold the level even if she's sometimes injured, sometimes not that ready. She's still very dangerous player. So is Venus. They are both great champions.
Like I said, they did a lot for tennis and they always, you know, is gonna be there in our tennis history.
Q. Does it bother you at all, you win the biggest match of your life and people are talking or your opponent is talking about an injury being a difference?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I don't care. (Smiling.) You know, sometimes it is like this. Not even me. I'm sometimes not playing when I'm 100% ready and I don't think others care.
If someone is not ready and she doesn't think she is ready, she should not go on the court. But after the match I would say it's still her choice if she wants to play or if she is ready to play or not.
I'm just happy with my win, and I'm not gonna think about something like this.
Q. You have been playing for a long time, working hard. What would it mean to you if you were able to lift the trophy on Saturday?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: You know, everyone was still talking to me about that you can win Grand Slam once. I was like, Yeah, maybe. Not now. I'm not ready for it yet, because obviously I didn't get that far in the tournament yet in a Grand Slam.
But I knew it's somewhere in me that I can really play good tennis on those bigger stages, so I believed, and it just happened. So I think I have a good chance, good chance not tomorrow, Saturday, to win, and just be ready and give my best.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports