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October 2, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Beijing, China

S. STEPHENS/Zheng Saisai

6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A follow-up question from the court. Do you ever find it difficult to play someone in their home country with a lot of fans?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, definitely. But I think I happens a lot throughout the year. Obviously we play all around the world, so you kind of get used to it.

But, yeah, like playing in the States, playing an American player is always really tough because all the American fans are incredible. Here in China, they only get these tournaments at the end of the year and there's only a couple. The crowd is pretty intense.

I think it's nice. It's nice to have home-court advantage and be able to have a lot of support in your home tournament.

Q. Is there anything that you focused on in practice in between your first and second matches?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, not really, because I played a really long first match. I just kind of got out there and kind of hit the ball around, just kind of focused on what I was going to do in my second match. But nothing too crazy, only because I played so long the night before and I practiced a little bit early.

Q. Have you spoken with Madison? If so, how is she doing?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I did. She is actually on her way home now. She left this morning. But she's fine. She's going to recover. I don't want to tell her business, but (smiling).

Yeah, no, she's going to be fine obviously. I think just towards the end of the year, everyone gets a little bit rusty. Yeah, I think she's just a little bit tired, as we all are.

Q. Speaking of the end of the year, do you have any plans for when you get some time off, where you want to go?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Uhm, I do, but I wouldn't really tell you. It's not like you're my homeboy (smiling).

I'm just going to go on vacation somewhere, but I don't know where yet. Just leave it at that.

Q. Compared to your first-round match, which was a long struggle, today on the scoreboard at least it seemed a lot smoother. Given as well wins in Asian have been a little bit hard to come by, are you happy you're sinking your teeth into the tournament? How have you felt first round compared to second round?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yes, definitely like winning first round, that was my first match in three years I won in Asia. That can tell you how difficult it is for me on this side of the world. It's nice to be able to win two matches in a row, kind of get it going. I guess every match counts at this point. Just trying to win as much as I can, do the best I can.

Q. After the first-round win, taking the court today, did it feel a little bit that the weight was lifted off, that you could just kind of play a little bit more freely today?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I think it's still a bit stressful. I think it's stressful for everybody. When you get down to the end of the year, everyone is trying to make the year end. Everyone is, like, freaking out.

But I think now that we're kind of getting closer to the tournaments, there's only a couple tournaments left, yeah, it's a little bit difficult.

Going out there today, I was just like, I got to play, figure something out. I played well, so that's all I really can ask for.

Q. Speaking of the end of the year, obviously Singapore and then Fed Cup after that. Does that make this section of the season feel shorter or longer in terms of you have a goal, there's something concrete at the end of it?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think it's very long. I think for an American player, like after the US Open, you're, Okay, that's it. That was fun. Now you just want to kind of throw it in the bag.

I think that obviously these are big tournaments. They count. Every match counts, like I said. It's difficult. But our season is very long. Obviously second week into November is the Fed Cup tie, so it makes it tough.

But you just got to do what you got to do, just try to do your best.

Q. I heard you said before at the US Open that Singapore was a massive goal for you. On the other hand, too, as an American, the US Open finishes, you want to throw it in the bag. What is the incentive for you to play in Singapore? Why is that such a goal for you and making you freak out?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I didn't mean literally throw it in the bag.

I just think that building up to the US Open, playing all those amazing tournaments in the States and in Canada, it's a really big deal for us, the last Grand Slam of the year. Then you come to Asia, and you have to keep battling because there is a goal at the end of the year to make Singapore, to make Zhuhai, and in some girl's cases Fed Cup final.

Like I said, it is difficult. I think obviously making Singapore, you finish the top eight of the year, that's a really great accomplishment. Obviously, already I've had a great season, but that would just be like the cherry on top. If I don't make it, there's the second place one, too, which is totally fine.

But, yeah, it's like there is something to play for at the end of the year obviously. These tournaments are kind of what push you to get there. No matter how you like it, don't like it, whatever, you still got to come and you got to show up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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