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November 4, 2017

Ying-Ying Duan

Xinyun Han

Zhuhai, China


7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.

Q. Congratulations on the win into the finals. Just like to ask, how did you decide to team up? Is there any story behind it? Actually, your combination is pretty unexpected.
XINYUN HAN: I'm just tagging along with a stronger player (smiling) because I couldn't have made it based on my ranking, and there's no way the national team would offer me the wildcard.

But Duan asked me two days before the final signup if I wanted to join her because two other teams entered this tournament based on their singles rankings. I said okay. It would be great if I can. Then here we are.

Q. Why did you choose Han and invite her to join you?
YING-YING DUAN: Because I think she is great at doubles. She is good at both net and baseline, and she's a lefty, because in doubles I usually stand in zone 1, and her, being a lefty, stands on zone 2. So I think we would team up great.

XINYUN HAN: Actually, I'm in zone 1.

YING-YING DUAN: No, I'm in zone 1. You forgot (smiling)?

Q. We know that you would work with different coaches within a season, I mean, apart from your original coach. What is your criteria for selecting a coach? Is it price or are you looking to improve a specific technique?
XINYUN HAN: Anyway, I cannot afford coaches that are too pricey. To be honest, I hope that I can have a coach who constantly pushes me to do the right thing every day.

If you change coaches all the time, it's very difficult to find one that really suits you, but it's great to have the opportunity to work with my current coach. He has been working really hard and given me a lot of help. I do appreciate his help. If we can, I'd like to work with him next year.

Q. Your singles ranking is between 90 to 100. Are you a bit worried yourself? We know that you're going for the Hua Hin tournament next week. Are you trying to win more points because you need to secure your position for Australian Open next year? Do you think ever since Wimbledon in 2015 and then your title from Nan Chang last year that you have been studied by your opponents a lot so it would be more and more difficult for you in WTA tournaments, do you think?
YING-YING DUAN: Yes, now I need to change a lot. I need to communicate with my coach, and I need to be attacking more aggressively to win more matches, although lately I had both losses and wins in singles, but I have been working on my serve and my backhand. These are things that I'm changing gradually.

Talking about securing my position, I don't feel a lot of pressure, because I think if you give yourself too much pressure, you will be too conservative on the court, so I believe you need to, first of all, be yourself on the court and win every point. Don't think too much.

I am an attacking player. If you think too much on the court, your movement and your speed will be compromised, so I think I don't need to think about rankings for now, just be myself and the ranking will naturally show what you're doing.

Q. Can you both comment on each other what are you most confident about your partner or is there anything that you hope they can do better?
YING-YING DUAN: I think we were both very good on the baseline, and our attack, as well, so there was not enough time for our opponents to return. So the baseline was good. It would be greater if we had better play at net.

Q. I'd like you to comment on each other, but then you comment on yourself. Next question. Actually, in the past few years, quite a few Chinese women players see their rankings outside the top 100, and no matter what they do, they cannot see breakthroughs. Duan used to be one of them, but then you had your breakthrough in the past two years, so I'd like to ask, did you learn anything from your doubles partners or do you feel that breakthrough will come naturally as long as you keep improving yourself?
XINYUN HAN: Yes. I need to focus more on my singles. For this tournament, I only played doubles and I felt pretty easy. But when we were in Malaysia, the schedule was super long. In the end, I couldn't even play doubles. Not because I'm not as good; because we both had singles after doubles. Very tiresome.

So if I need to see breakthroughs for my singles, I need to make smarter schedule. I need to play more premium tournaments and to reduce the frequency of doubles so that I can maintain my energy for singles.

Q. Martina Hingis just announced her retirement. You played with her in doubles before once. Martina didn't retire until she was 33. Did you ever think that you can play that long and maybe extend your professional career? And also, what is your impression about her retirement, and how are you going to plan your own career?
XINYUN HAN: She is one of my favorite players, and I feel so honored that I can be a part of her professional career, although I didn't play well that time because of my injury.

I do feel that she is a very professional player who loves her job. She doesn't really feel like a top-level celebrity. She went out with us for dinner and told us what we need to do on the court, and we practiced after those matches. There's a lot about her that I can learn. Her dedication to her career, for example.

As for me, I don't know. I'll just do my best, but how far I can go, it will depend on my physique.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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