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October 7, 2016
J. KONTA/Zhang Shuai
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.
Q. This is your first quarterfinal at a premier tournament level. Can you sum up your performance during this China Open?
ZHANG SHUAI: In this year's China Open I performed the best. I made it into the quarterfinals this year. I feel happy about it.
As for my performance, I'm very satisfied with it.
Q. Can you analyze today's match? At the beginning you won four games, but then lost 12 games in a row. Why? You played her many times.
ZHANG SHUAI: As for the first four games in a row, I performed real well. The match was intense at the very beginning. The fifth game on my serve, I had the opportunity, but I didn't take it.
Starting from the fourth game, Konta played very well in terms of her return and serves. At 4-All I felt my first serve was not very good. When I played her, I felt it wasn't going my way. I could not play at my level today. She put a lot of pressure on me. Actually, yesterday the match was going my way, but today it was not.
This year I lost to her three times. There must be a reason behind it. I need to improve a lot.
Q. You got a wild card for the Zhuhai tournament. After today's match you will go to Tianjin and Zhuhai. You may face Konta, these type of top-level players. When you play these players, is it a good opportunity for you to learn?
ZHANG SHUAI: Of course, it is a good opportunity for me to learn from those top players. It's the kind of opportunity for me to improve. In the past I made it into WTA tournaments. I learned a lot from those international tournaments. It was very difficult for me to win. Gradually I began to win one or two matches.
Right now it's very often for me to make it into the quarterfinals at those higher-level tournaments. You can see the improvements. My performance is going in the right direction, although my improvement is a bit slower. The key is that I'm on the right track.
Together with my coach, our goal is clear. We know our direction and our target. If we continue our efforts, we'll make it eventually.
Q. You said this year you lost to her three times. In which aspect can you not beat her?
ZHANG SHUAI: She's quite a challenge for me. There are so many elements. She puts a lot of pressure on me. If it was just one point or one area, I could conquer it. Right now there's so many areas and aspects that I need to improve to beat her.
She is this kind of all-court player, so sometimes I felt helpless to win. You can see in the second set, I could not win one game. Over the past two or three years, Konta improved a lot.
Q. We saw your coach was there with you. Over the years, you played a lot of matches. Your fitness is quite good. Can you share with us your trainer?
ZHANG SHUAI: My trainer is quite good. He takes care of my fitness. He was seldom seen on TV. He used to be the trainer for the national team.
We have worked together for so many years. By the end of last year, he was always with me. Last year I was in a slump. I told him that I didn't want to continue my matches.
As for this year, during the French Open, I didn't feel very well. I contacted my trainer to come back and give me a lot of care and treatment. So in the second half of this year, you can see my physical strength is okay and I can keep my level of play thanks to his help and assistance.
In the middle of this year, I never thought that at the end of the season I'd have to play so many matches. In the first half of this year I didn't play so many matches. This year we had the Rio Olympics. Since the not American swing till now, all the players have played a lot of matches. I can keep this level of play thanks to the assistance of my trainer.
As for my team, we work together very well, my coach, my trainer and myself. We are heading in the right direction. We hope that we can work together better and better.
Q. Yesterday you said you were familiar with Konta, that you practiced a lot with her. What about your practice with her? Before this match, what did your coach tell you?
ZHANG SHUAI: I practiced with my coach on many occasions. During the warmup we may practice with other players. We mainly practice with our coach.
As for today's match, I focused on my game and my shots and my style. Today I needed to improve my serve and return. There's still a gap between me and Konta. That's why Konta can rise in the rankings so rapidly this year.
I think I still have a lot to learn from her. I can see my shortcomings. It's a good thing. I can always find the areas for me to improve further. It's good for me. I hope that I can improve every day.
Q. After the China Open, your ranking will be about 27. In the Zhuhai tournament you can gain a lot of points. Can you predict your year-end ranking?
ZHANG SHUAI: Actually, I cannot tell what may happen tomorrow. People say that we don't know what we will have tomorrow, so I'll just focus on my current matches. We'll see the year-end ranking.
If we always make predictions, think too deep into the tournament, it's not helpful. I may feel tired by making a lot of predictions.
In Zhuhai, before that, we will have Tianjin, and then one or two weeks of practice. During this period of time, I need to work with my team, my coach, my trainer to reflect upon my past losses and the areas I need to improve upon.
We need to think about how to achieve another new high for me. We should not only focus on the rankings. Of course, in Zhuhai, if we win the title, you can earn 700 points. But the question is, do you have the capability to earn that 700 points.
As for the China Open, the finalist could get 1000 points. So the key is to improve your level of play.
Q. You said in the second half of this year you played so many matches. Is your physical strength good enough to increase the number of matches? Wouldn't it be good for you?
ZHANG SHUAI: It depends. Sometimes the more matches you play, the lower the quality of your play. The quality should be the key. When you play these matches, you should show 100% of your capability. Quality is more important than quantity.
During this week, I played quite well in Beijing. Many players, their ranking is higher than mine. But during this week, I beat them. It's been quite good for me during this week. I hope I can play better in the near future.
Q. What are your expectations for Tianjin?
ZHANG SHUAI: This year, it's the third time for me to go to Tianjin. The first year in Tianjin, I was plagued by injury. It was quite good for me to go to Tianjin the first year.
Last year, my performance was in a slump so I didn't play very well in Tianjin. I lost in qualifications. I did not have the opportunity to enter the main draw. This year difficult not have any pressure going into the Tianjin tournament. I think I could play better than last year in Tianjin.
In Tianjin, I may receive a lot of fan support. Actually, a lot of friends are there to support me. I really enjoy the home crowd. I like to invite my friends to go to Tianjin to watch my match.
Q. Yesterday you said others may bagel you. Today you lost this match. In the second set you didn't win any games. Although you lost today, did you feel different? How will you improve in the near future?
ZHANG SHUAI: Although Konta bageled me in the second set, it doesn't matter win or lose. Yesterday I bageled Halep. Actually, Halep's ranking is No. 5 in the world. So today's loss is nothing that important, win or lose.
Konta played really great today. I could not control today's match. I could not dictate this match. There's nothing to regret for today's loss.
As for the future, I will try my best to go in the right direction. I would like to play more top players. By playing them, I can improve more quickly.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports