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October 2, 2018

Aryna Sabalenka

Beijing, China

A. SABALENKA/G. Muguruza

7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What do you think made the difference tonight? Very tight sets. The breaks were hard to come by.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, it's not easy to play after the title, I would like to say. She's a great player.

Well, I don't know. It was tough more mentality to play today. It's big stadium, huge I would like to say.

Well, after first set I start to enjoy it. Because first set was like, Oh, my gosh, I have to put the ball in. Then I was quite relaxed. Then start the real game. It was really, really nice match, I think.

Q. Her ranking is a little bit low, but she was a two-time slam champion, former No. 1. I know you're getting a lot of big wins recently, but what does a win over her today mean to you?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Actually, I didn't think she's two times Grand Slam champion. Well, I saw today I felt that she's a Grand Slam champion because she's playing really well. You always under pressure when you play against her.

Well, it was tough one. I'm so happy that I won it.

Q. From outside, we didn't really see your nerves in the first set. What do you tell yourself when it's like this to calm down and still play great tennis?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I thought it was a worst match ever I seen, ever I feel. I call Dmitry. He said, you're playing well.

I ask him, Really?

Then after, he said, Okay, you're playing well. It's time to relax. It's time to enjoy it.

Then I start to play tennis like in my mind.

Q. Do you feel like your last tournament win and that environment helped you perform well tonight, just coming straight into this tournament?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, it was not that long time to forget about that title, to come here, to start from the beginning. Yeah, I tried to forget the title and just tell to myself, We'll, you're in the next one, you have to forget that one, now it's another one. You have to play your best tennis, show everyone your game.

Yeah, I think it was, like, quick change after the first title.

Q. Since June in Eastbourne you've played so many matches. Obviously you're very confident. How are you feeling physically and mentally, because you've played so often?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, well, it's more about mentality. After US Open I went to Québec, and I didn't have any power, like power of mind to play. After Québec, I went home back because I needed. I was need like for rest, to see my family, to change something, because it's really tough when you play a lot of matches a lot of tournaments in a row. Well, you need a break. Yeah, sometimes it's just about two days, and then you can back again in it.

Well, it's tough, but it's better to win than lose, you know (smiling). It's a good problem, I think.

Q. What do you make of your shot-making today? I notice you won many points with the slice backhand, also the dropshots.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Sorry, again.

Q. What do you make of your shot-making today? You won many points in crucial moments with slice and dropshots.
ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know actually. It was just like it happened. I was just thinking, C'mon, try to put the ball in. Doesn't matter how you will do this, slice, dropshot, whatever.

Well, it works today. That's how. Sometimes you're not waiting these kind of shots from yourself. You just like made it, then you're like, Wow! Oh, my gosh, I did it.

Q. You're getting Caroline Garcia next. You had a tight one against her in Cincinnati, 7-5 in the third. What do you make of this next match?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, yeah, I played against her in Cincinnati. She had two match points against me. Actually, I don't know how I save it.

I think tomorrow or after tomorrow I have to be more focused because she's a great player. Well, you have to be focused every point because everything can change in one time, how it happened in Cincinnati (snapping fingers).

Yeah, it's a tough one.

Q. Are you saying you are surprised by some of the shots you actually get in?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, yeah. I really surprised. You scream, C'mon. Then you turn around and you're, Wow! Really, I did it.

Q. So what was the best shot that you hit today that made you go 'wow'?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think the dropshot. I don't remember score. There was a long rally. She was run really good there. Then I made the dropshot from the backhand. It was I think the best point. It doesn't matter that then after I didn't put the ball in, not one. But the point was really good (smiling).

Q. Was it more about confidence level that separated you two during the end of both sets?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I won first set, I start to be confidence with myself. Probably I start to be more aggressive and everything was how I wanted. Yeah, that how it was today.

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