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January 4, 2017

Angelique Kerber

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

A. KERBER/A. Barty

6-3, 2-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did it take you some games to work your game out a little bit more?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, it's always tough to play a match after such a long break, and Ashleigh was playing very well from the first point. I was trying, you know, to staying focused, yeah, and from the first point, as well, and going for it when I had the chance. I was trying to serving sometimes too much, and my serve was not the best today.

Yeah, I can just improve.

Q. Do you know much about cricket?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I know that she's playing cricket (smiling). I heard that, yeah.

Q. Do you think there is anything out of that game she might have brought into tennis to give her an extra weapon?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think you have to be strong, actually. She played very, like, very tough and very hard and very deep.

So it was not so easy, you know, to get the rhythm in the first few games. Yeah, I mean, she played very well tonight.

Q. She seemed to kind of run away with the second set a little bit. Third set, a reset, what were you telling yourself? How do you think you were able to find your game again?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was trying to focusing more on the serve and the first point, the first ball, but I was more trying to staying calm and staying positive and just, yeah, just playing.

I mean, the crowd was there. It was a great atmosphere out on this court.

Yeah, I was just trying to going for it when I have the chance. It was good that I breaked her early in the third set.

Q. On the serve, did you feel like you took some pace off and just tried to get the point started? What did you adjust there? You were struggling for two sets.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was more focusing on the serve. I mean, in the first two sets I was just more, you know, to finding my rhythm, like, from the baseline, return and serve.

And in the third set I was just trying more to focusing on one thing, and that was the serve. So that was the point I change.

Q. You had a remarkable year last year. You came here to Brisbane. You didn't have any Grand Slam titles to your name. You had an amazing year. How do you feel, going into 2017, starting at the same place?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I'm feeling good. I mean, I have great memories from last year. Of course it was a completely different situation like 12 months ago, but to being here, starting here, that's a good thing, I think.

You know, I just try to take the new challenges. I mean, it will be a different year than 2016, but I think that I'm ready for that, and, yeah, let's see how many matches I can play here, and then going, of course, to the first Grand Slam of the year.

Q. Were you aware that Serena lost in Auckland today? In the second set were you thinking, whoops?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, I just heard it, so I was not looking, watching, or whatever. You know, it's always different to starting the year, and the first matches are always tough.

You know, you have to get again into the rhythm and play a lot of matches to feel your game. You know, yeah, I'm just actually focusing more on here, on my tournament, and trying to do my best here.

Q. Quite a few players say that, you know, the first match or first couple of matches it's the mental rhythm of playing a match that is the toughest when you first start the year. So how would you rate how it was for you, kind of mentally, emotionally, managing all of that throughout the match today?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think it's everything. It's like the mental side. It's also, like, yeah, the game side, because of course it's easier to playing on the practice courts, points or, like, sets against somebody else.

I mean, you go out there. You are in your match clothes. It's full. Of course, it's completely different.

It's not so easy to get the transit on the match court, but that's why we play these tournaments to get ready for the bigger ones.

I think it's everything a little bit you have to, yeah, find the rhythm and the feeling again on the match courts.

Q. Svitolina next, quarterfinals. I think you guys played in China?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: In China, I think, yeah.

Q. I think she won that match. Sort of thoughts on her. She's someone who has slowly come up and gets a lot of balls back.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I'm looking forward. I mean, I know it will be another tough match, because I know how she's playing. She's moving very well. She brings a lot of balls back.

But I know how she's playing, and I will try to, yeah, to have a plan against her and take the revenge, actually, and just going out there and try to, yeah, play my second match of the year and, yeah, of course win the match.

Q. Is there any sense of relief? You know, it's been a late start, you have kind of been here for a few days, practicing, running around, things like that. Is it a kind of relief and maybe the shoulders relax a little bit?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Of course a little bit. I mean, the first few rounds are always tough, and now you are in the tournament. So now I will play, I think, every day, every day late.

I know the rhythm now, but, you know, it's just, for me, it's great to being back and compete with the best players, because this is what -- because this is what you are doing for, like, the preseason for and to staying out there and, yeah, playing matches and winning matches.

Q. Your opponent is ranked in the 200s because she's been out of the game for so long. From what you saw tonight, do you see that she stays fit, gets her rhythm...
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, for sure. She plays very well.

I think if she will have a lot of more matches and she will get, like, confidence and everything, so she can play very great year. That's for sure.

Also, you need to have a little bit luck in the draws, or, like, also, in the matches, but if she will working hard and play like tonight, for sure, she will have great results this year, I'm sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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