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January 11, 2018

Ashleigh Barty

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

A. BARTY/B. Strycova

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were talking about polish the other night. Did you get that tonight?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I certainly did. For me, even in warmup this morning, the first 10 balls felt like I came out of middle. I said to my coach, I feel a little bit better today.

Yeah, just the feeling of the racquet felt better. Obviously I was able to come out and I just had to come out and play with freedom. Obviously I had to play a good match to win, and I was able to do that today.

Q. Looked like you dominated for pretty much all of it. How much of a confidence base is that?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think it's nice to just know that the tennis is there. Even though it hasn't been perfect the last two weeks, today was certainly a step up. It's nice to come in so close to a slam. For me, it's nice to get another chance tomorrow and go out and try and fix up a few more things.

Q. You and Daria on the tour, as the year progresses, how much time do you guys spend together and train together and go out to dinner together? What's that story?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it's been really nice. We had a really good group traveling last year with Dash, myself, Sam, Casey. For a lot of the year we were together, which was really nice. Dash and I are both big fans of coffee. We kept open a lot of coffee stores. If she found one or I found one, we'd always be in contact.

It's certainly nice seeing such a happy, smiley face with Dasha every week everywhere we go, and, you know, it's been really nice to get to know her a little bit better especially in the last couple of years.

Q. Have there been times where the two of you talked about where you guys might be able to take your tennis, each of you, as the years progress? Do you talk about your future, the potential where it might end up?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Not a hell of a lot. Obviously there is that really healthy competition between all the Aussies, and I think Dash and I being so close in ranking and in age you can push each other. It's super healthy and super competitive, but we certainly have a lot of fun.

Q. What do you think about that matchup tomorrow in the semifinal?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I think it will be really exciting. It's amazing for the tournament, for Aussie fans, to have an Australian in the final. I think for both of us it's nice to get a few matches leading into a slam.

But first things first. We both want to win the match tomorrow and then hopefully go on and win the tournament. But hopefully we can play in front of a full, passionate Aussie crowd for an all-Aussie matchup.

Q. She has an exceptional record against other Aussies. Are you aware of that?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, she beat me last year (smiling).

Q. 13-1 since she became an Aussie.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: We'll see if I can make it 13-2. No, I mean, Dash and I had a cracking match in Strasbourg, 6 in the third. It literally could have gone either way with the net cord.

For us, it's perfect. We can go out and have a really good match, go hard at each other, and still shake hands, have a hug at the end of the match, and wish each other the best.

Q. Do you think this tournament, surface, this time of the year, the matchup suits you better? In Strasbourg it was on clay, and Dash said last night clay might be her favorite. Do you think on hard court in an Aussie summer it gives you a bit of an edge?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think probably there is no secrets that clay isn't my most preferred surface. I still felt like I had pretty good results on it last year and felt comfortable. Obviously as Aussies we grow up playing on these hard courts, and it's just the surface that we play on.

For me, I don't think it necessarily gives me an edge of any sort. I just sort of go out there and go about my business the same way. Dash is obviously an amazing player, and especially on this surface, adapted really well. Made a couple fourth rounds at the Australian Open, so she's no stranger to it.

Q. Given that you played so well today, what is there left to improve on, do you think, in tomorrow's match?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I'm a perfectionist and seek perfection, but yeah, today was good, but it was not anywhere near my best still. That's what I'm always striving for.

But I think you have to take things into consideration, the conditions and everything. You will never play perfect tennis, but you can certainly try your best.

Q. Has it gotten easier, as you have gotten older or perhaps coming back this time in your career, to accept that if you've had that perfectionist tendency, it's knowing it's just about getting out there and playing better than your opponent and being happy with that?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: No (smiling). No, for me, I always want perfection, but I think that's what my coach drills into me. He goes, You just have to beat your opponent on the day. And I am getting better at it, but still, the way I am, I still want it to be perfect. I want it to feel perfect, to just feel right to me.

But as long as you're doing enough to beat your opponent, I suppose that's all that matters.

Q. You seem so happy and settled now with tennis. Obviously it's well-documented that you went through a stage where you just stopped loving it. Why do you feel like you're in the place you're in now? What's happened to get you to where you are with love of the game and playing so well?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I mean, I feel, you know, extremely happy on and off the court. I feel like I'm more comfortable in my own skin on the court.

Obviously I think just a couple more years to mature and develop has helped that. And certainly having success last year has helped that, as well. Obviously I could be sitting in a very different chair right now if I didn't win a match last year.

For me now I think it's about taking that confidence onto the court, but I have a fantastic team around me. I'm very well looked after. I have the most genuine people helping me out day in and day out, and we have a really good vibe.

Q. So being happy, does that come before playing well, or does playing well come before? It's a chicken-and-egg thing? Which comes first for you?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Well, I think tennis isn't the be-all-and-end-all in life. I can still certainly be happy off the court and not happy with the way I'm playing, but, I mean, obviously if you're playing well, winning, having fun, that's going to make you happy on the court. But, yeah, I think there are certainly still bigger things in life than playing perfect tennis or winning a tennis match.

Q. Where are you and Dasha getting the best coffee in Sydney?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I know Joe Black is a popular one, because it's close to the hotel. But I've found a few hole-in-the-walls that I have liked.

Yeah, actually I can't wait to get to Melbourne to get to a few of my favorite spots that I have been many, many times.

Q. And where is that?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: The Pound, just off Chapel Street. The boys look after me well there, and you definitely will see me there if I'm not on the court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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