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February 14, 2018

Catherine Bellis

Doha, Qatar


2-6, 6-3, 6-0

Q. CiCi, windy conditions out there and quite tricky. How do you feel like you were able to kind of reel it in?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, it was tough, especially kind of getting used to her in the first set. And I think the outside courts are a little bit different than the centre court. I think the outside ones are a little bit faster, so it was kind of hard to get used to that at first. But yeah, I think definitely by the second set I was feeling good, got a good rhythm, and yeah.

Q. She's not a player that gives you particularly good rhythm. Was it just a matter of maybe her intensity dropping a little bit with the conditions kind of swirling? Where do you think things completely kind of shifted in that match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think maybe halfway into the second set it started shifting a bit. I think I got a little lucky on a few balls the wind took, and I think she shanked a few. And yeah, I think that was big in the second set, and then the third I just really started to get a good rhythm, making a lot of first serves. She was attacking my first and second a lot in the first set, and then once I started making more first serves, that helped me a lot too.

Q. And what do you think about the Middle East? You've had success here now in both Doha and Dubai. Is it the courts? Is it the conditions, the time of year? What do you think?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I was just talking to my coach about that a few minutes ago. I don't know. I love it here. Yeah, I feel really comfortable here, and both sites are so nice and the player hotels are amazing. So yeah, just feels really relaxed and awesome.

Q. Talk about the differences between playing in front of a big crowd at the US Open and playing in front of small venues from all parts of the world?
CATHERINE BELLIS: It's definitely different, yeah, but it's just something that I have to get used to. And definitely have played on smaller courts like this more than I've played on bigger ones. So this feels more comfortable right now for me. But hopefully I'll be able to play on bigger courts more in the future, and yeah, just definitely something I have to get used to.

Q. And what do you think has been the biggest challenge for you making the leap on the WTA tour now? You're pretty established, but what's been the biggest hurdle do you think?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think fitness has been a huge one for me. I think, you know, just playing a bunch of matches each tournament, tournament in, tournament out, and being able to play a bunch of matches each week is something that I've been working on, and I think it's gotten a lot better for me; whereas, last year I'd get tired really easily. And yeah, during this preseason I worked a lot on my fitness and I feel like it's helped me so much already.

Q. And how hard is it to play someone who you know from obviously Orlando. You guys both train there. Is it weird? Is it more fun, less fun?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I don't know. We had never played each other in a match before, and we had practiced a few times, but we had never really played sets. So it wasn't like we knew each other's -- I mean we know each other's game pretty well, but it wasn't like we'd played a bunch of sets over the years. But yeah, we definitely know each other pretty well; and we're sharing a fitness training and physio here, so it's definitely tough to play against people that you know that well. But it's just something that's going to happen for sure.

Q. And I know you obviously didn't choose to go to college. Is that something that you're going to try to finish online or in the future?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Definitely. Yeah. That's 100 percent something I'm going to do.

Q. And is there a certain thing you'd major in or study or focus on?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Not sure yet. I'm taking a little break right now. For sure I'll figure out soon.

Q. And lastly, Federer is most likely to be No. 1 again soon. What are your thoughts on him?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Him in general?

Q. Yeah.
CATHERINE BELLIS: Oh, yeah. He's amazing, one of my favorite players of all time for sure, and I think just what he's doing, kind of having a huge resurgence in his career has been unbelievable, and just watching it, he's -- I think he's perfect. So I love watching him, and hopefully he gets No. 1 this week.

Q. Next match, Pliskova or Cornet. So two very different opponents. I think you've played Alizé before. Talk through both of those potential matchups.
CATHERINE BELLIS: They're definitely different matchups for sure. One of them is super big hitter, kind of like Madison I would say. And then obviously Cornet you get a little bit more of a rhythm. So yeah, I think both will be good. Definitely different strategies with each one, but yeah, we'll just figure it out whenever that time comes that we know who won.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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