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August 27, 2018

Kaia Kanepi

New York, NY, USA

K. KANEPI/S. Halep

6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Well-played match. Just talk about what enabled you to -- I know you came close in Doha. Is there something about her match or the way you match up?
KAIA KANEPI: Yeah, I think it's the way we match up. I remembered how I played her last time. I was just trying to do the same.

Q. The fact that you went to the quarterfinals here last year, do you come into this year's tournament emboldened by that, feeling more confident as a result of the fact you played into the quarters last year?
KAIA KANEPI: No, actually I felt more pressure, because I have to defend my points, so I didn't feel really confident coming here playing the first seeded.

Q. You said it's the way you match up. What specifically is it about her game and yours that makes this a good matchup for you?
KAIA KANEPI: Because I can be aggressive when I want to, because she defends a lot. But I have time to be aggressive.

Q. What were your thoughts going into the match about her level of play and what you needed to do to beat her?
KAIA KANEPI: Well, she has been playing really well in U.S. lately, so I thought I just have to be aggressive and try to stay calm. That's what I should do.

Q. From 3-Love in the second set to eventually 4-4, when she was coming back on you and her fans started making noise, how were you able to hold it together and win the set?
KAIA KANEPI: Yeah, I was thinking about that, why they cheer so much for her, because normally they cheer for the underdog (smiling). Now they cheer for her. It was a bit annoying for sometime, but I got over it. Just try to play as I am supposed to be playing.

Q. Speaking of that, how did it feel, then, when the crowd gave you a standing ovation after you broke Halep at 5-4, to go ahead and serve out the match?
KAIA KANEPI: It felt really good. Yeah, it did.

Q. I know you say you weren't confident coming in here because you had points to defend, but after qualifying last year, after doing it the hard way, you must have some feeling that you can compete with anybody on these hard courts?
KAIA KANEPI: Yeah, I love playing here in New York. I have always loved it. So maybe the court also suits my game.

Q. What was your preparation like leading up to this tournament since you didn't have to play qualifying? And also, when did you start working with Dusan?
KAIA KANEPI: Since Cincinnati, we share Dusan with Petkovic. I played Cincinnati, and then I was preparing for New York. I didn't play anything after.

Q. Did you feel like, in Cincinnati in the practice leading up to this tournament, that you were hitting the ball well and maybe a result like this was closer than maybe it might have seemed to people on the outside?
KAIA KANEPI: I don't know. I was hitting the ball well. She also has played well. So I didn't really expect anything.

Q. At 4-All after she broke back, what did you tell yourself at that moment? She seemed to have the momentum. The crowd was obviously supporting her.
KAIA KANEPI: I think I didn't go that much anymore for my shots. That's why it came to 4-4. So I thought I have to hit more aggressive again, and I tried to do that.

Q. Jil Teichmann next. Curious what your thoughts are if you've allowed yourself to think past this result.
KAIA KANEPI: Oh, okay. I didn't know.

Q. More or less surprising than drawing Halep maybe?
KAIA KANEPI: I have played her before. It was a tight match. It was her match, actually.

So I go for every match expecting a tough match.

Q. You talk about how the crowd was starting to get behind her, but at times when you saw her be warned for the racquet, showing frustration, what's that do for you when you see that on the other side of the net?
KAIA KANEPI: Nothing, actually. Because it might help when you, like, break a racquet or show your emotions more, then you let go and you can be more free. So it doesn't really affect me.

Q. How much pride do you take in the fact that you kind of have this ability to do this at the slams regularly?
KAIA KANEPI: How much? I don't know (smiling). A little.

Q. Could you maybe just elaborate a little bit more on New York and why you play so well here and have had so much success.
KAIA KANEPI: As I said, I think the courts suit my game, and I love being in New York. I like the city. I like the atmosphere in tournaments and in the city, also. And I like the weather: humid and hot.

Q. And by the courts, I mean, what did you think of the new Louis Armstrong court? You're the first one to play.
KAIA KANEPI: It was very nice. I got a hit there yesterday, and I saw it was really a cute court.

Q. Cute?

Q. Last year I think you were talking about ice driving, that you had been doing some ice driving before the tournament or something like that during the time off. Are you still doing that?
KAIA KANEPI: Yeah, I did it this winter also in Estonia, and then ^ ice lake, I didn't go to Finland this year because I didn't have time. I was playing and competing more.

Q. At Wimbledon, the top 10 seeds went out. Something that hadn't happened like that in a long, long time, if ever. Here, already first match, the No. 1 seed goes out. What do you think all of this says about the depth of players on the women's tour?
KAIA KANEPI: I think players are playing more equal. I think, yeah, there are not many players anymore who are, like, leading the game. I mean, everybody can beat everybody on a good day, so that's what I also thought, that I know Simona is No. 1, she plays constantly really well, but I can play really well, too. And I think -- I don't know if you got it. I try to explain as good as I can.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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