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June 3, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Paris, France

S. STEPHENS/A. Kontaveit

6-2, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. A pretty straightforward match after a really tough one yesterday, so how did the stress or fatigue of yesterday play into today?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, it was a little bit of a different matchup so I knew I was going to have to come out and do some things differently. At the beginning I was a little stiff from yesterday, like, I wasn't really swinging through my shots. And I knew that I needed to really get going so I was taking a whole bunch of practice swings at the back of the court just trying to get myself going. Once I did, I started swinging, and, you know, it worked out well.

Q. You completed the slam quarterfinals now by reaching the last eight here. How does that feel?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Super cool. Isn't it exciting? Yeah, doing well here. Obviously doing well at any slam making the fourth round four times or whatever is pretty good, but to finally get over that hump of quarterfinals feels very nice.

Q. You have talked about how much you like clay. Not to be negative, but why do you think this was the slowest of the ones to make this breakthrough?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I don't know. I honestly have no idea. But I have always played well here. I really have never had, like, a bad year here. I have lost to some really great players.

Just, I guess, save the best for last? I don't know.

Q. As we have said, that was a really impressive performance out there today. How close do you feel to your best tennis?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I have been playing better. Obviously the clay court season I didn't make, like, major waves or splashes, but I played pretty consistent. I lost to some good players. I mean, that's really all you can ask for in a season. Obviously it would have been nice to have a win or better result, but I think everything kind of leads into here, and having a good result here is the most important thing.

Q. Does reaching the quarterfinals and sort of making your way marching through a Grand Slam again feel different this time around now that you have gotten all the way to the end of that journey once before?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, not really. Every tournament is different. There is always going to be, you know, like I said, adversity and things that happen and things are totally out of your control, like, having to play back to back and things like that.

You just gotta get through it, like, one match at a time. You can't think too far ahead.

Q. Not to make you think too far ahead, but Madison was in here earlier. She's reached the same milestone that you have today. She said that she was able to watch some of your match yesterday in treatment and told you afterwards that you made her nervous. Have you been able to watch her play at all here and what do you think of her form?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, no, I think she's playing well. I mean, she's, like, really the only person I actually watch because I will be texting her during the match, Come on, what are you doing?

But, no, I think she's been playing well. Obviously in a slam she really gets up, so she's, you know, going to make -- she's going to make whoever she plays play, and I think that's what's great about Maddy.

Q. Do you think there is something extra special about playing at a Grand Slam and do you think that helps you raise your game because you know it's important?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, well, I mean, yeah, yeah, no. I don't know. (Smiling.) Obviously you want to do well at the Grand Slams. It's better to do well here than I guess -- I won't say that either. Never mind.

I guess it is very important to do well here. I like playing better at Grand Slams. So, yeah, I mean, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Q. In the next match you will play Wozniacki or Kasatkina. What do you expect about that match?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Their match...

Q. Your match.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I mean, it depends on who wins. But obviously great. For both players to get to the quarterfinals, you obviously have to have been playing well and some good tennis. I think whoever I play, it will be an interesting matchup.

So, yeah, we'll see.

Q. How do you see Wozniacki?
SLOANE STEPHENS: How do I see her? Is she No. 1 in the world? 2? Okay. Not very far off.

Either way, like I said, it will be a good match.

Q. Overall, what are your satisfaction levels for this result? Do you think you have sort of surpassed your seeding here? I don't know where you draw the line for what makes for a successful tournament here for you. When you arrived to Paris, is this enough or do you need more or how do you feel?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I think once you get this far there is still more to be done, but obviously I think a personal milestone for myself was getting to the quarters, obviously doing well here fourth round a lot of the years in a row. So I think that was something big for me, which is great.

But hopefully it doesn't end here. You've got to keep going. I would like to keep going. When I came into the tournament, I wasn't thinking, oh, make quarterfinals, make whatever. I was just thinking day to day, like, let's try to figure it out.

Yeah, I have figured it out pretty well the last couple matches so I'm going to keep doing that.

Q. Madison talked about how she was not a fan of clay for a lot of her career, maybe still isn't, and had to teach herself how to play on this surface. Is it more automatic for you or how do you gearshift for clay, this tournament, specifically?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I mean, I don't think that I'm such a great clay-court player. I think I just enjoy playing on it. I think it's a cool surface. It's different from all the other surfaces we play on all year long.

I mean, I just enjoy it. But like I said, I'm no Rafa (smiling). Just try to take it day by day and enjoy myself.

Q. I don't know if you saw the video of Maria hitting with Rafa in Rome.

Q. Would you ever want to do that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I asked him. I was, like, Why didn't you let me hit with you? And Francis said, You have to win another tournament to play with him. I was, like, Fine.

Q. You won a slam.
SLOANE STEPHENS: I know but it's not enough. It's, like, Rafa. You have to do more. He was kidding, but, still... I was, like -- one day, I'm going to one-up her and hit with Fed, take Fed on grass. I've got to one-up her, I've got to. I'm going to start asking soon (smiling).

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