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October 23, 2016
A. KERBER/D. Cibulkova
7-6, 2-6, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Congratulations, Angie. When you're world No. 1 obviously there is some pressure to win a match. If you were to compare today's match against last year's match against Safarova, how much better or different do you think you responded today?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, it was for sure a little bit better than the last match I played here against Safarova last year, but it's always tough to play the first matches here.
Of course the pressure is not -- it's really big for me, but it's a new situation. I'm really happy that I deal it very well today in the first match for me.
Q. Angie, it was quite a workout out there. You guys were pretty close. Just talk about the quality of the match and how tough it was.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it was really good match from both of us, especially the first set. It was really close, and I think we played over one hour.
The second set she played very well from the beginning. I missed a little bit like few balls, but still in the third set we were both playing on the really high level.
For me, that gives me a lot of confidence to win such a match after the last few weeks. Yeah, it's great to start of course the tournament with a match and win like this where you know you had to play your best, yeah, in this situation, important situation.
Q. In the third set you were behind a break, and she was on a roll the second set as well. How do you keep your cool and motivate to play better as you did rather than get a little bit down or sad because of how the things are rolling?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I know me, and I know that I'm fighting until the last point. I know that I have to also showing sometimes some emotions.
I was trying really to focusing on every single point and not thinking about the score, because, yeah, I think that was the key to just going for it and playing like I'm playing.
So I was like more, yeah, expecting that I can turn around the match. The first break I was down, but I think I turn around it with my emotion and with my positive thinking after the break.
Q. How difficult or easy is it to be aggressive on that court? That's been a key for you this year. You tell me.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It's of course not so easy because the surface is not so fast. I'm still trying to improve my game. And I improve it already, I'm still working on it, but just to go for it, being aggressive. This is always the key in the important moments.
Like I told in the last few weeks, not to hope, just take it and risk. I think this is what's change also my game. Just to go for it and take the wins in my hand.
Q. Is it difficult though to do that, to be aggressive, when the ball isn't coming directly up into your strike zone and you have to get quite low? Is it then about decision making or execution to hit a big ball through?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think it's more decision. You just have few seconds to make this decision. I think it's more, yeah, from the experience. We played so many matches, and I'm just trying to following my feelings in this moment. Just going for it, what I'm feeling.
Yeah, I mean, sometimes I'm really low so I know how it feels to play really aggressive when you are down low and on your knees.
Q. Your coach is very animated when he comes on court. How much of what he says are you listening to or can you hear or take in? Do you listen to anything? Did you hear anything that he says?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Where? Who?
Q. Your coach when he comes on court. He's animated and saying a lot of stuff and you're just like sipping water.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I know him, so it's actually nothing new for me that he's like that. Of course I'm listen when he is talking to me. I think today he came out like two times. It's always important, because sometimes you are losing your game plan.
For me it's important that he is coming then and remember me what I have to do. Of course when you are sitting outside sometimes you are seeing a little bit more than when you are playing on court and you were in this focus during the match.
But he is always funny, so it's nothing new. In a good way, of course.
Q. This is your 18th three-set win this year. How aware are you of records like that? How much does it help you in a deciding set knowing you've won so many already?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: To be honest, I'm not thinking during the match about the statistic. Of course, I mean, I know when I'm on court that I can play for three hours. This gives me a lot confidence, that I knew that I can run forever. I knew that I had in the last few months already close matches in three sets.
But during the match I am really not thinking about statistics.
Q. You come into the tournament with quite a bit of expectation and pressure as the No. 1 seed. How much are you feeling a sense of relief after getting the win today? Is it about confidence? What's the affect of this win for you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It's both. I mean, of course the pressure is there. I feel the pressure. It's a different situation. I have much more things to do also in the last few days.
But it's challenge for me, and I'm really trying to playing my best tennis in the last tournament, in the last week of the year. Of course now I'm a little bit relaxed.
It gives me much more confidence to going to the next match after the first win. So I think it starts good for me, this tournament. It was a really close and tough match, so I think that was also really important for me, to have a match like that in the first round.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports