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February 12, 2018

Maria Sharapova

Doha, Qatar

M. NICULESCU/M. Sharapova

4-6, 6-4, 6-3

Q. She's a very tricky opponent to have to play. Can you talk about the game plan that you wanted to execute out there, and what do you think the difference was in the end?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I thought I did a really good job of that the first set and a half, but that's obviously not enough to win the match. And I did a good job of winning the longer rallies, even though that's not really what I wanted to get myself into. So physically I felt good. I just got pretty passive in the end and starting making too many errors.

Q. How challenging is it to play someone who slices the forehand so much pretty much every forehand?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, and especially a completely opposite on the other side. But that was to be expected. I haven't faced against her before or seen her play many matches. And as I said, I did a good job of that, but just completely changed the way that I was playing and changed what I was doing to get myself in the winning position.

Q. Obviously the loss is frustrating. What is the frustration after a loss like this? Are you frustrated with the way that you played or just the need of more matches and not getting it here? What do you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just a little bit of everything. I want to play as many matches as I can, and didn't happen in this tournament.

Q. So how do you take the positive? You have another week now to train for next tournament. Is there something specific you're going to work on, something you take away? Maybe see something in Doha you haven't seen before?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think there's always something to work on whether you win or lose. And I'm not shy of the work. So I'll continue to do that. But yeah, I don't know what my next tournament is actually, so yeah.

Q. And also just in terms, you said in the last set that you got a bit passive. Was that more just physical? I mean it was a grinding match out there. Did you feel, like physically in the third set, was it just a matter of not being in that position as many times as you wanted to be in that third-set sharpness?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't think so. I mean I love playing in three-set matches, and I think I've thrived in them my career. So I don't necessarily shy away from that challenge. But as I said, I think I gotta look at the tape and see why I became started going back behind the baseline and not moving forward, not putting the pace on her.

Q. Tough luck. Will you put this down to any sort of pressure? Every time you get onto the court, given your background, there's so much talk before you get onto the court. And did the wind or the breeze today play any role?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I wish I could use that as an excuse, but no. I've played in windy and breezy conditions in my career. So that's nothing really new, and it's also the same for my opponent.

But I love playing when there's something on the line, when there's, as you said, I come in with a little bit more than maybe other players. And I enjoy that and I've done well with it in my career. And thriving on that is extremely important, and being consistent and mentally strong and not letting other things get in the way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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