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March 14, 2018

Naomi Osaka

Indian Wells, California

N. OSAKA/K. Pliskova

6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess the conditions were different and cold but it didn't seem to bother you. How did the match go for you?
NAOMI OSAKA: I wasn't really paying too much attention on it. I mean, I feel like when I move, I'm not really cold, so that didn't bother me. But in the morning I saw that it was really windy, so I was thinking it was going to be windy later, but it wasn't that bad.

So the conditions weren't, like, that important today for me.

Q. Knowing you were going out against a strong server and returner, much like yourself, did you look at structuring your game a little differently today or just keep focused on the plan you had?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I knew that I had to really pay a lot of attention when I was serving, because it could have turned into one of those matches where, like, holding serve is very important.

But when I got the break in the first game, I sort of shifted a little bit more attention to returning, because it seemed like she was a little bit unconfident on her serve today.

I tried to focus a lot on returning and just making her play a lot of balls.

Q. Can you talk about the second set when you broke but she came back and then again you broke and she came back again. What kind of thoughts were going through your mind? What your, you know, main goal to play at that point?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I was a little bit upset when that happened, mainly because I feel like I worked really hard to win her service games, but I was letting her break me really easily.

But other than that, I just -- I was thinking that it's still -- like, I'm still on serve, so I didn't necessarily lose anything yet.

So I just had to keep trying my best.

Q. Did that happen because you got a little bit nervous or because she raised her level?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think for two games in the second set she played really, really well, but also, I was a little bit nervous. I think my first-serve percentage dropped a lot. So I think those were the factors.

Q. From the outside, looked like you were a lot more comfortable at counter-punching Karolina's flat shots rather than Sakkari's topspin heavy rotation yesterday. Is that the way you felt, too?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, well, I feel like it's a completely different game, so I can't really say I'm more comfortable with one.

I would just say I have played her before, so I already knew what to expect. As opposed to playing yesterday, and I didn't really know what she was going to do. Because she's a more -- like, she can put more spin on the ball and stuff, so I think it changes the way the match goes.

Q. You play Simona next. I guess what do you think are the biggest lessons learned from your last match against her?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I would say I made a lot of unforced errors while not really going for the shots that I had. So I'm just trying to commit more and also playing longer rallies at the same time.

So, yeah, that, and also just being happy to be in this position right now.

Q. You have talked about concentration and focus being key for you and you've worked on that. How was that tonight?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I won, so... (Smiling.)

I mean, I feel like tonight it was really good because I think she's a really good player. That was a stupid thing to say. How do I say this?

Like, I feel if you give her the chance to, she'll take the chance and run with it. I felt like at the very beginning I had to start really strong, and just to keep up that level is a little bit challenging for me. That's why I think I dipped a little bit, but I'm proud that I came back, too.

Q. Last time you told me that you're more concerned about being the first to do something rather than match someone else's record. You're the first woman from Japan to make a semifinal at a premier tournament?
NAOMI OSAKA: Oh, cool. Okay.

Q. What's your reaction to that?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I'm happy, but also I feel like it's cooler to go to the finals and win it, so I'm going to try to do that.

But yeah. I mean, I feel like I want to break records for male and female. I'm coming for Kei. So, yeah, that would be a cool thing to do.

Q. Does this feel like a breakout tournament to you or not?
NAOMI OSAKA: A little bit both. I feel like this year I have been more consistent. So yes and no at the same time, because I feel like all the matches I have played at the start of the year, sort of they have been leading up to this. And I just want to keep this level throughout the entire year, because that's what the good players do.

Q. How different does this couple of weeks feel from the week that you had in Tokyo when you made the final?
NAOMI OSAKA: Like, now I feel a little bit like I know what I'm doing more. I wasn't really aware too much of what I was doing in Tokyo. I just played my match, went to the hotel, came back the next day, played another match, and I wasn't really too grateful on, like, being in the final and being in the situation that I'm in.

Now I'm just really trying to soak it up and trying to be, like, happy. I mean, like, I feel like everyone playing the tournament would love to be in the semis. So of course I'm going to try to get further, but I'm also really happy right now.

Q. You are very calm and consistent not only in the one match but also during this tournament. You won four wins in a row. Could you look back on this week or, like, 10 days, how did you spend off-days, you don't play the match? And what do you think is the key to be this calm and confident throughout this tournament?
NAOMI OSAKA: I really didn't do anything on my off-days. I came here and I practiced and watched some matches. That's basically it.

I just feel like from the first time I came here this last week, when I started hitting, I felt really good on the court. So I feel like that was a really good plus.

Just, like, keeping a positive mentality is, like, the biggest thing I have worked on. So just keeping that going.

Q. You started this season with new team and new coach, Sascha and new physio, Nana. Could you talk about the chemistry working with them?
NAOMI OSAKA: Okay. I feel like we all get along really well, which is great, because I think that the people you surround yourself with sort of influence your energy and stuff. So I'm really happy that everyone gets along, and I feel like we all have our separate roles and we all play them well.

Yeah, I think that's good.

Q. Tagging on that, have you had a chance to talk with Sascha, and did he have any words for you tonight?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. I mean, he told me that I played well, but there's also stuff that he told me I could do better. He's never happy (smiling).

Yeah, I mean, of course I'm, like, a perfectionist, and he's always telling me that I don't have to be so hard on myself. So, like, he was happy, but also, at the same time, there's a lot of stuff that we can work on. So I'm just looking towards that.

Q. Do you usually search your own name on Twitter?
NAOMI OSAKA: No. No -- no. I put my settings on, like, people that I follow and verified. So I don't really see anything else, because, like, once it hurt my feelings. So then I was, like, Nah, I'm just gonna stay within the boundary.

Q. Do you think today is the best match you played so far in this tournament?
NAOMI OSAKA: Hmm. For a player like her, probably, yes, but I have played so many different types of players in this tournament, so I can't really say I have played one match better than the other.

I think just being consistent this tournament is the best thing that I have done, so I'm not really looking to compare my matches or anything. I'm just happy that I have won.

Q. Honest answer: Who is more famous, you or Taro? Did you actually talk to him to get that photo?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, with a supervised adult, because -- so I was gonna be, like, Wouldn't it be cool if I just took a picture with him, right?

Yeah, and then I was too nervous, so we just took a picture with everybody.

I'm not really sure, because I don't Google my name in Japanese, so I don't really know what's going on over there, but I would think that he's more famous because he beat Djokovic. So Djokovic, you know.

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