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October 4, 2017

Peng Shuai

Beijing, China

PENG S./M. Niculescu

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.

Q. As you look back to your matches in the China Open, there were many memories. You've had many great victories. As the largest tournament played in China for women, what are your feelings about it?
PENG SHUAI: Yes, I have deep feelings for the China Open. Back when I was in my teenage years, I played as a teenager. The venue was in a different area. Sometimes I wasn't able to play because of injury. But I kept coming back to the China Open. It felt really good to be able to come back to the tournament again.

Last year it became a huge surprise for me to be able to beat Venus Williams. Each and every time I played here at the China Open, the crowd has always cheered for me. That did something to me, it helped me when I felt exhausted. That support from the crowd helped me to generate a bit of energy to overcome the tough moments.

I can also feel that the China Open is growing, is improving year after year, from the facilities, security, organization of the event. It has become better and better.

Q. If I remember clearly, this is your first two-set match on the Asian tour. How was it not to play three sets, two hours?
PENG SHUAI: Yes, and the crowd also felt better not having to watch me play that long. So since Guangzhou, whether I won or lost the match, I played three sets, and played very late.

Today's opponent, Niculescu, hit a strange ball. At the beginning, in the first set, I was a bit nervous at the beginning. Later on I loosened up. I had more opportunities later on. I was able to get some of the deeper shots. Some shots I couldn't play in previous matches I could today, so I think I performed well.

Q. Have you recovered regarding your cough?
PENG SHUAI: Well, as I came to the China Open, I got sick. I took some medicine. I actually got sick in New Haven. In the second week of the US Open, I recovered a little bit. I don't know if it's because I had one tooth removed, whether it was because of that or not. Maybe that did something to my immune system. I have to choose certain medications, because there are summations that are not good for me.

I can feel that I'm getting better, I'm recovering. Thank you.

Q. Today is the Mid Autumn Festival. How will you arrange your time later? Will you have dinner with your family or some fellow players?
PENG SHUAI: Actually I don't have plans. Maybe you don't believe it, but I didn't realize today is the Mid Autumn Festival until I got up this morning and I switched on my cell phone and I received all the messages giving me good wishes for the Mid Autumn Festival. Only then did I realize.

It's not that I didn't attach great importance to this festival, but as we go from tournament to tournament, we care less.

Of course, we want to have a dinner to appreciate the full moon tonight, to celebrate with our friends and families. By then it's usually too late to reserve a seat in a restaurant. Most often we call takeaway and have it in our hotel rooms.

Today I have something to celebrate: the victory. I can send this victory to all the fans, to all those who have supported me for a long time.

Q. During the interview, the phrase 'letting go of yourself' went viral on the Internet. During previous press conferences, you mentioned there are fans calling you Auntie Peng. What is your response to that?
PENG SHUAI: In real life, I am not stupid, but I like to make fun in terms of language. I enjoy making jokes. I enjoy making fun of people a little bit. So just now during the interview, they asked me to lean closer in. I did try to lean closer in, and they made fun of that.

About calling me other names, I don't really mind. Even though I'm more than 30 years of age, but I still have the heart of a teenage girl. You can just call me little sister.

Q. For the next match you will play the French Open champion Ostapenko. What do you have to say about that?
PENG SHUAI: I have nothing to say (smiling).

Q. It's been a while since you were in the top eight at the China Open. Next you are playing against Ostapenko, the French Open champion this year. She hasn't had a consistent performance. You have a chance to beat her, correct?
PENG SHUAI: Well, I just finished a match, so I haven't thought too much about the next match. I haven't played her, not in tournaments, not for practice either. I will talk with my coach. He saw the matches of Ostapenko. He would have a better idea how she plays. I will just give my best tomorrow.

I just know that she is young and she is very good. This year she has done well, especially during the French Open. Her style is very aggressive forehands, backhands. The speed is fast. She plays from the baseline. I will enjoy tomorrow's match and try my best.

Q. I want to ask an off-court question. Generally girls when they put on their outfit, they wouldn't want to wear the same outfit as the other girls. The sponsors might choose the same outfit for some of the other players. Did you choose your outfit? How do you avoid getting the same outfit as the other players, and how do you showcase your personality?
PENG SHUAI: Well, the first thought that came to my mind when you asked the question is the same outfit is okay as long as we have different faces.

For sponsors, they will sponsor many players, like adidas, Nike, but they have different markets to attend to, the European market, the Asian market. For the headquarters of sponsors, they will categorize the different market segments, and they will select different players for each market segment.

I've never given any thought to that. But I like the design of adidas, not because I have been a player representing adidas, but from a young age I like adidas design.

From a player point of view, I put more attention on the shoes. So we usually keep the same outfit, but we change the different shoes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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