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September 3, 2017

Anastasija Sevastova

New York, NY, USA

A. SEVASTOVA/M. Sharapova

5-7, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A lot of attention here. How did you prepare yourself for that environment?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Well, I mean, you prepare yourself for these matches. You play for these matches. You play the sport for these matches.

I was ready. I played last year on Ashe. I knew what to expect. And, yeah, that's it.

Q. How do your good memories at this tournament here prepare you to play the match or help you get excited to play this tournament?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, for sure from last year, I only have great memories here. It helped me a lot because I knew I could play well here. So I came pretty confident.

But still, you have to get through these first matches. It's getting tougher every match.

Q. You looked pretty engaged and pumped up from the first set, a few games in. Talk about your mental preparation for this match.
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: But I was 1-4 down (smiling).

Q. But you were still fist pumping, trying to be positive.
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, I mean, you have to do that because if I don't do that I'm going to lose I think 6-1, 6-1.

No, I had to stay with her. I had to stay pumped up. I had to run. I had to be physically fit, to get every ball and, yeah, just make her work for every point.

Q. What do you think was effective in what you did today? Where did you find pockets of success?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, mixing up, slice. I couldn't hit her off the court, that's for sure, so I had to have a game plan. I had to play a lot of slice, mixing it up, forehand running, so that she moves to her forehand.

Also serve percentage was very important because she returns 200, 200Ks. Yeah, so basically. But then I saw the highlights of the match, like, all the statistics after the second set. I saw that we play pretty good match, yeah. That helped.

Q. Thoughts on your next match against Sloane, who has had a very good summer.
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: She's playing great. I haven't seen her play, so I have to check it out on YouTube maybe.

Yeah, I think she's tough opponent, for sure. Playing at home also. I know that she has a good forehand. That's the only thing I know.

Q. Obviously there's been a lot of attention on Maria this tournament. Does it feel like there's an extra incentive to beat her compared to other players?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: I think some players have that. I don't have that. I have great respect for her. I mean, I was 14 years old, I was playing under-14, at a tournament, and she was winning Wimbledon the same day basically.

Yeah, I was confident. I was feeling it. But still you have to beat her. I think she was playing one of the better matches here, one of the best matches here, yeah.

Q. When you go out to play someone who uses power so much, has such a big return, takes risks like that, do you see that as an advantage because of the way you play, or do you see it as something that's a little scary like, She could hit me off the court?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, if she hits you off the court, then you say, Congratulations. But, again, I try to play smart. Sometimes it's an advantage, sometimes not.

When they're hitting, they're also making mistakes, yeah. So if you move well, if you mix it up, you have always a chance, yeah, uh-huh.

Q. Things got a little tight in the last match against Vekic. Talk about that.
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: I think with Vekic, there were more nerves. I don't know why. Today it was 5-2 so two breaks. I think I could have closed it out with two games.

Q. Last year it was a Yankees cap. This year it's the Giants. Are you trying to cover all the sports?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, all New York sports (smiling).

Q. Can you tell us what the secret is of Latvian tennis?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Because we have maybe no funding or no money. Maybe that's why (smiling).

I don't know. Really I don't know.

Q. You said back home you probably were a C-minus or a D-minus celebrity.

Q. What are you now?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: I'm still C-minus. Nothing changed.

Q. Last game, match points.

Q. How nervous were you? What was going through your mind?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, for sure I was nervous. But it helped me with the last match against Vekic, so it helped me a bit. I was not that nervous. I knew if I serve well, if I keep my percentage, I always have a chance.

I mean, of course she can hit winners, return winners. She was always hitting them. I just stayed there and I came up with some first serves in the end.

Q. Only at the end, though, right?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: In the end, right. But still, I think she had some problems with kick, as well. It was not always winner, winner, winner, yeah.

Q. I was going to ask about your hat. As a Latvian, a New York team choice would seem to be the Knicks.
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, but I don't like their cap. Their cap is not nice (smiling).

Q. Sakkari that said these courts are one of the few hard courts she feels comfortable to slide on. You're obviously very good on clay. Is there something specific about these hard courts that make then different than others?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: I'm not sliding on the court. Have you seen me slide?

Q. No.
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: I can't slide on hard court. I don't know why some players can. I can't. I don't feel comfortable. I like to move on hard courts, yeah, but no sliding, not for me.

Q. How different does this run to the quarterfinals feel from last year? I'm assuming they feel quite different, but how?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Expectation-wise is different, I think. First time I was seeded is this year here. Yeah, and again, I think this was a pretty big match. Against Muguruza I had a big match. For sure, every year is different, yeah.

Q. You talked about the lack of funding in Latvian tennis, lack of celebrity. What does it mean to have these big wins under your belt in New York City, a city known for making superstars?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Talking about Latvia, I think now people are appreciating it more, that we are playing so well. Tennis in Latvia maybe will become a bit more popular.

But c'mon, we are a small country, obviously two million people. It's getting smaller and smaller. They're all leaving.

They appreciate it more. They like it. They start following it. So maybe we can make a change, yeah.

Q. What sort of, if any, relationship do you have with Ostapenko?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: I'm saying hi to her sometimes. Sometimes she replies, sometimes not (laughter).

No, that's a joke. I mean, I congratulated her on Roland Garros, yeah. But we are not practicing together.

Q. The Russians traditionally have been known for their fight, hunger. In Serbia, there was talk of training in pools. You talked about lack of funding. What goes into that?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: I mean, in my city I grew up till 14 years old, we were practicing in a school, like school surface. I don't know, it's like - how do you call it?

Q. Wood?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: On the wood. There was one meter behind. That was our practice during winter, like for six months probably. And in summer we had clay courts. It's still the same in my city.

Q. Was there any funding, any support from sponsors at all?
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, for sure I had some support. I mean, Federation also helped me a little bit in the beginning. So it's not like that.

But again, in the city where I grew up, it's still the same. We still have only one club with seven clay courts, and we don't have any indoor courts.

Q. What city?

Q. You haven't played a lot of Fed Cup in recent years.

Q. Now you have two top-20 players. Seems like you might have a good team.

Q. Do you have any plans to ever give that another shot? Seems like you could go pretty far.
ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, we are talking about that. Maybe. I don't know. It didn't fit into my schedule because it was, the weeks, I played six weeks in a row. I didn't like that. Also, how they approach it, I didn't like that, too.

So we'll see. Maybe they will approach it differently next year. But, yeah, the team would be great. I hope we could play doubles together.

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