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March 15, 2018

Daria Kasatkina

Indian Wells, California


6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much more impressive can you be than what we saw today?
DARIA KASATKINA: Ah, I hope we will see tomorrow (smiling). Yeah, I'm already thinking actually about the next match.

Yeah, that's it.

Q. At what point today, whether it was warmups or a few games in -- warmups? Where you felt like you had it?
DARIA KASATKINA: Yeah, the weather was on point. My kick was on point. Everything was fits well.

Yeah, so I'm pretty happy with my game today. I think I was not, like, really on cruise (phonetic), but I was doing the right things to win.

Q. Was there any point where you surprised yourself at all today?
DARIA KASATKINA: Not really. Everything what I showed today I was doing on the practices, so was just playing, like, really calm. Yeah.

Q. Do you take it as just winning another match or do you take it as a special meaning because it was Kerber, because you qualify for your first semifinal here?
DARIA KASATKINA: You know, with the head, I understand it's a really important match, that it's quarterfinals, big tournament, center court, but I was just trying to turn all these things, yeah, and just go on the court without any doubts, without any, like, bad things, you know, which could put pressure on myself.

Actually, my head was quite empty (smiling). That was the best point.

Q. You joke about that, but it seemed like, you know, when you were working with Lotto, it was a lot of learning the technical kind of aspects of tennis, learning point construction and, you know, things like that. Do you feel like recently, and with Philippe, it's like let Dasha be Dasha?
DARIA KASATKINA: Actually, now yes, less tactic, less small things, which you always have to have in your head, and looks like I don't need, really, a lot of these things in my head.

So I just have to go on court without any doubts and just play my tennis wherever I feel better.

Q. You have taken out Sloane, Angelique, and Caroline. You're making it look easy. But from your effort, tell us how maybe it isn't.
DARIA KASATKINA: Of course it was not easy. They are one of the best players in the world, winning Grand Slams.

Maybe, yeah, from the side or with the score it looks like it was simple, but of course it's not. I was preparing for the match. During the match I was really focused, and I knew that in one moment if I will just -- if I will lose focus just for a second, they will come back and then the big battle, five hours again, will start.

Yeah, the most difficult thing to play against top players is to keep your focus two hours, three hours on the court if you should, yeah.

Q. I know you're a football fan. If there is one footballer who you can compare yourself to, if Daria wasn't a tennis player but a football player, who would it be?
DARIA KASATKINA: No, I know the answer, because I wanted to say, like, Messi, but most probably maybe Iniesta. Or maybe both. Because I want to be Messi so much (smiling).

But the father of my very good friends, after one of the matches against Caroline, he said, She look like Iniesta.

So, yeah, from the side it looks better, I think.

Q. It says here you attend a sports college in Russia. Have you ever come over to the U.S. to train extensively like other Russians? And if you haven't, then why haven't you done like a lot of other Russians and come over here and attended tennis colleges, Florida or whatever?
DARIA KASATKINA: I never think about it, actually. How to say? I prefer more to stay in Europe or Russia, because I don't know. For me it's just better. I like more the atmosphere and all the stuff in Europe.

I like to come to United States to play tournaments, because there is a lot of tournaments. Actually I spend so much time here because I also have preseason here, and, yeah, we spend maybe four months per year here.

I have enough of United States, and I really enjoying being in Europe, especially when it's, like, months of European tournaments and enjoying so much being there.

Q. What's your favorite place in Europe?

Q. What is your connection to that city besides the fact that you like the football club?
DARIA KASATKINA: Actually, it's not connection. It's just little, you know, (indiscernible) for the city. Because even if there is no football club, anyway I love the city so much. I love the people are so friendly, the food, the architecture. Everything is there just fine. For me I'm coming there all the time and I never want to leave this place.

Yeah, I wish to live there for sure.

Q. I know you have been going back there whenever you have breaks back in the season, so is your Spanish getting better? Is that serious that's where you want to live when all this is done?
DARIA KASATKINA: You know, if you want something to get better, you have to start (smiling). Yeah. So I start to really visiting the country this year only, so I have had no chance to speak Spanish or something.

For sure I think if I want to live there I have to learn, and I hope I will find time for this.

Q. What are some of your favorite spots in the city?
DARIA KASATKINA: I love, like, the Gothic, of course. And my favorite is just to go to the sea, to the water. You know, I don't like Madrid -- not only because, not only because...(smiling). Also because it's, like, in the middle of the country and there is no sea.

So for me it's like it's very nice city but something missing. Air, atmosphere. It's like -- I don't have to speak about Barca anymore, I guess.

Q. When you say the architecture, do you go looking at the Gaudi buildings or the galleries? What do you like?
DARIA KASATKINA: Actually, I saw already everything in Barcelona. And now I'm just walking around Barcelona and enjoying everything, because I already visit, I think, all the big places which you were supposed to visit.

Q. We have an expression in English that you try to keep your feet on the ground when things are going really well and winning lots of matches and life is going great. You want to keep your feet on the ground to stay with your head focused.

Q. Do you think you'll be able to do that? Is that a challenge or is it better to keep them off the ground? I don't know.
DARIA KASATKINA: I don't know if it's really a challenge, because I don't want to be, like, starting my head or something. I'm just a tennis player. I'm normal human.

I don't want to, like, people to think that I'm somebody really special, because I'm just a normal human which loves football, which loves good food, you know. So I'm just somebody who is also playing tennis.

Q. Looking ahead to the semifinal, what are your thoughts on who you might play?
DARIA KASATKINA: Oh, tough to say. I don't have any expectation from this match. The only thing is that I want to play at 7:00 tomorrow (smiling).

Yeah, but it's not about the player, absolutely. I just want to be on the central court, prime time. Yeah.

Q. You don't think your game is better during the day? You think it's better...
DARIA KASATKINA: Maybe yes, but in the evening something special is coming from here, from the heart.

Q. Some of the veteran players have talked about the younger players playing without pressure, being able to go out there and go for their shots. You're not really in that group, but are you feeling pressure or still a lot of...
DARIA KASATKINA: You know, last year and beginning of this year, I had a lot of pressure. Like, actually during already home my "huge" career, I had a lot of pressure, especially when -- the second year when you have to defend a lot of points and all this stuff, yeah, I had pressure, of course.

But with the time, with the playing tournaments, facing best players, you're learning how to manage it. So I hope in good way.

Q. You just said about good food.

Q. What is your favorite or what's the best Spanish food? Do you drink Spanish wine?
DARIA KASATKINA: Good question (smiling). I'm not 21 yet. Yet.

Q. Doesn't matter in Europe.
DARIA KASATKINA: In Europe it doesn't matter. But of course I love paella, jamon iberico. It's, like, (kisses fingers). Actually, the tapas. Almost everything in Spanish food I like.

The wine? With good company, of course you can have glass or two, of course.

Q. Barring that one match in Doha where you had a neck injury, you have done really well. Three semifinals in a row barring that match. Do you feel momentum is on your side?
DARIA KASATKINA: You know, it was really tough moment in Doha when I injured my neck, yeah, because actually in Dubai still I had a problem with that. And just before the first round, I spoke with my coach. Like, it was kind of conversation not really positive because I was feeling my neck, yeah.

It's always like this, when you're completely in the (clearing throat and pointing down). Yeah, somehow, I don't know how you're starting to get better, playing better. I don't know how, but it is where it is. It's like you're coming from here, coming to the top, because you don't have any pressure anymore.

Q. Does this feel like -- well, actually, against Venus, I mean, thoughts and what are your memories of that Wimbledon match?
DARIA KASATKINA: Oh, my God. Last year it was, like, Wimbledon I lose from -- I was break up in the third, I guess, and I lose 10-8 in the third. Yeah, but it was on the grass, so... It was better for her.

Yeah, actually, it was very good match, because she's one of the best on this surface, winning Wimbledon few times.

It was, for me, it was first really tournament where I won the match on the grass court, so I guess was pretty good one, even if I lose.

But here is different story completely, hard court, and we'll see. No expectation. As I said, no pressure, no expectation. Semifinals, whatever can happen.

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