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May 10, 2018

Karolina Pliskova

Madrid, Spain


6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You said you were going to change a few things, look back at the French Open match. What did you change? It certainly worked.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I did actually watch a little bit of the match what we played, some highlights. I was trying to play the same, just to believe from the first ball that I can beat her. That's what I did today. I think that was the biggest change from the previous matches when we played.

I never really thought I can beat her, but this time somehow today I felt like I will have for sure chances. Even the warmup I felt so good today.

But in the game overall I think I didn't change much. I just was serving little bit different, more clever, not only the speed, but just to get the percentage, sometimes mix it up the speed, the kick which was quite working, just holding my serves. She started pretty strong, the beginning of the match, but I got quickly back.

Yeah, I was feeling very well in the rallies what we played, even from my backhand side. My forehand was working. I think I played one of my best matches this year for sure, and for sure on clay in my life.

Q. Stuttgart champion, semifinalist in Madrid. We're getting used to you being in the latter stages of the clay tournaments at the moment. Are you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah, I'm still surprised with my results on clay, especially about this streak what I have from Stuttgart here. Also still my draw was pretty tough. If I saw which players are there, I was like, Okay, maybe one round. If I do, it's going to be great. Now I'm in semis.

Very pleased that I can, you know, get that far in this tournament. I always said I felt like conditions on this tournament can be good for me, but I never really played well. This time I think was perfect. Had some tough matches during the beginning of the tournament, but this one was good.

Q. Your frustrations with Simona's game have been long documented, so when you talk about belief, going in there and believing this is the day when it all turns around, how do you have that mindset?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Because I think she's somebody who is playing very well, very solid. I think she also likes my game. She likes the speed. But she never is going to give me some aces, I don't know, some pressure on the second serve. It's still in the rally. I feel like there's still a chance, even though I play bad. But you cannot play bad because she doesn't miss much. She is moving well. You have to feel the game. Then I think there is a chance to beat her.

I was feeling well in few matches, but I was just not able to close it. Even in Australia, I had chance to go 4-Love. It could be different. Also I think you have to win the first set because otherwise there is still a chance to win, but it's physically tough with her, especially on clay, to play those long rallies. You have to have a lot of energy to beat her.

When I did the first set, I believed I can finish it in the second.

Q. Simona was complimenting you on getting to a lot of balls, playing good defense today. Do you feel that's also where the two or two and a half weeks before Fed Cup, when you were already on clay, that's paying dividends now for you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I think so. I have to say I was feeling great with my movement today. Not only today, but the matches before. Although the game wasn't the best, the movement, I felt like I can get a lot of balls back. Not only can I attack, but I also can defend some of the balls, if it's possible, which is also for the head good to know that you can sometimes, like, play a normal rally, you don't always have to make the points, just let the opponent play a little bit also. That's what I was doing today.

I think she also was trying to attack. She missed few points. Not always is good to push, push, push, because I do a lot of mistakes. I was quite patient in the rallies. It's because I feel physically well.

Q. You have either Petra or Daria next. Your thoughts on facing them?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Petra for sure tough, but we never faced on clay. She has a good year, very confident I think. This tournament she won, so really tough. But I have nothing to lose. I feel like my tennis is improving here. I feel like I can have a good game to face her.

We played few times, but it's few years back. I think I'm different person from that time. For sure feeling confident to beat her, but on the other hand I feel like we all know that she's always playing good against Czech girls.

I think she's going to play her best tennis. Yeah, I have some weapons, so I think there's a chance to beat her.

And about Dasha, we played few times. For sure on clay it's a little bit more tough with her because she can get to lot of balls. She plays the spins back. I would have to be patient. I saw little bit of the match with Muguruza. I think it was great level what they played.

Yeah, so I think it's going to be tough. I lost to her in Rome a few years back. Also different person now (smiling).

But anyway, both of them, whoever wins, it's going to be tough because both are having great year, Dasha, even Petra. She played some finals, maybe some titles for sure. For sure tough, tough semi.

Q. You've always struck me as a confident player. It seems like once you're able to get past these specific mental blocks - third round of a slam, getting past second round here, beating Simona - that something seems to unlock and things settle down. Talk about that a little bit. How does that work?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I think this is not the case only with me. I think a lot of players, a lot of the seeded players are struggling in the first, second rounds. The pressure's a little bit higher than on the other opponents.

Actually the draw what I had here kind of helped me just to be still 100% ready for my matches, not to think, Oh, this one is going to be easy. So I was still there even though, like I said, the game was not always the best.

The main for me is the mental side in my head, just to be fighting, be positive. Sometimes I'm not this way. Like this I can get through matches also not with the best game but...

Sometimes you have tournaments where you feel well. There's not many matches where you just don't play bad tennis. Sometimes you have to get through those matches. If you get through, I think then you feel like I felt today (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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