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January 4, 2017

Dominika Cibulkova

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


2-6, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How difficult was it to kind of stay calm, first match? She's playing very, very well.

Q. Just kind of stay level to turn it around?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, I was prepared for a fight. You know, it was my first match. I knew it was not gonna be easy. I didn't expect for myself to play my best tennis today, but, you know, I'm happy I managed to come back from the match.

She was playing really well, but then I started to use my weapons much more. I started to play -- I started to be much more aggressive on the return with my forehands, and I just didn't let her -- I didn't let her in the game.

So I really appreciate this few games I played really well in the second set and the beginning of the third set. You know, this is the way I want to play and I want to continue.

It was really tricky, the first match, but I expected it. It showed me what should I pay attention more a bit and to be ready for tomorrow.

Q. How hard is it, or maybe it's easy, to come from such a high that you did at the end of last tournament to starting again?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, this is the first time I'm in this situation. You know, once I won Moscow, that's the last tournament of year, if you don't count the Masters, and you just have different thoughts and you finish with a winning match, the season. It's never easy.

But I was practicing really hard, and I came here to Brisbane, and I think I'm really well prepared. So I just wanted to just to get into the, to get, you know, to get few matches, because it's very different when you just practice and to get in the mood of match.

So, you know, I have my strategy, and today I was happy how I managed it and actually how I finished the last game.

Q. By the same token, is it good to start the season, finally get started?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, of course. I was looking forward to finally starting, because I had three weeks of really hard work. It was already -- I think it was enough.

So I'm happy to be here, back on tour, and happy to play matches. And when I won my first match today, you know, it really gives me a lot of confidence. I know it's going to be really hard, but I'm ready to fight and be there every single match.

Q. When Zhang Shuai was serving for it in the first set, what kind of adjustments you made to try to read her serve better?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yes, I started to really serve a bit better. Also, my coach helped me when he came on, the coaching. I changed my position a little bit on the return, and that what help me to get on my forehand return much better.

I was really pushing her to serve into the places where she don't like so much. So I took advantage of my really good return and I adjust the position. I started to be much more aggressive, and my returns were really, really good afterwards.

Q. You played her, like, four times before, but the last time was a couple years ago. So how do you think her game get improvements over the last few years?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, I would say she really, really improved her game. You know, she can play, I mean, really aggressive. She can change the directions of the balls, and she's aggressive player.

I think she really improved her movement on the court, and it's -- she's really tough opponent. But today I was ready for a tough match, and it was really tough match. Yeah, I'm happy to be through.

Q. Ahead, you have another tough one in the quarterfinals against Cornet.
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, we played a lot of matches against each other. Last time I think I lost to her in Beijing, and before, I beat her. So it's always tough matches. She really good defensive player. She gets so many balls back.

When you hit a little bit shorter, then she can go into the court. She's changing the rhythm with the forehand. She's playing a lot of spin. With the backhand, she's playing really flat. She can play slice. So she can really change the rhythm on the court.

Q. Where did you feel, like, the most rust today in your game, like, the part of your game that you struggled with the most today? Where did you feel that?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Not the game overall, but my mindset on the court, you know, because I mean, for me, the beginning wasn't great, wasn't something I would really, I would say, Okay, this was a good start of the match.

So this is something I want to improve, to come on my next match and to play, you know, from the beginning what I want, to be much more aggressive and play my game, you know.

Today, from the beginning, I was like, Okay, let's see what's gonna happen. So this was where I see what I want to improve. And also, the end of the third set. You know, I was 4-0 up, and I would like to finish it a bit easier way than I did.

Q. Do you think some of that is just, like, you can practice all that you want, but the mentality of how to play a match is completely different? You have to play it...
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yes, exactly. And I have my rituals on the court, and I know what should I do when is this score and this score. And this only you can practice only during the match.

So I felt like -- I think for everybody is the same. We didn't play a match for almost two months. So this is something you have to focus on, and that's why we are here, to get back on track with a match mindset, I think.

Q. Given the success you had at the end of last year, how prepared are you for opponents to step up when they come on the court to play? Because you're one of the top players.
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yes. As I said before, I'm right now in the situation for the first time. I have never been -- this is my highest ranking. And of course I was No. 8 or No. 10, but this is a little bit different.

Yeah, you can feel the expectation and the pressure. This is what I'm something to trying to deal with. You know, I'm in first time in this situation.

I think I handled it pretty well for my first match. I didn't panic, even when I lost my first set. So I have my, as I said before, I have my rituals, what I do during the match, and I just want to focus on tennis, you know, on the tactics.

And then you put away the wrong thoughts you have on the court, like, I should win, or, I don't want to lose. You just put it away, and you focus on the right things.

Q. How long did it take for you to get rid of the jet lag?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Oh, I think it's still on (smiling). You know, they always said, I think it takes, like, one week to get used to in Australia, because it's -- I think it's the worst. And toughest also with the heat.

Yesterday and today I was lucky it wasn't so hot, because the hot makes you feel even worse. But today I felt physically really, really good on the court, and it's important.

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