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October 5, 2018

Naomi Osaka

Beijing, China

N. OSAKA/Zhang Shuai

3-6, 6-4, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It looked emotionally difficult for you out there today right from the start. Was it an off day? What were your feelings through that match? Outside it looked really like you were sad the whole time.
NAOMI OSAKA: Uhm, yeah, I mean it's one of those moments where you don't feel your best, but you also -- I mean, you have to play. And both of us were trying our best.

It was just one of those things that I had to find a way how to push through.

Q. Was it one of those things where you woke up and things weren't feeling right on the practice court, anything like that, in terms of knowing that maybe the game wasn't where you wanted it to be today? And in terms of the first set, what was going on in your mind?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I mean, I felt fine waking up. It was just, like, I just kind of felt a little bit tired practicing, like warming up for the match. Then when I stepped on the court, I just felt a little bit drained. But other than that, it felt fine.

Q. Your ability to handle the pressure that Zhang and the home crowd put on you reminds me of this year's US Open final. How did you manage to win both big matches while playing a home favorite?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, personally I kind of like playing against -- I like playing against the crowd. I know today it seemed like I was very aggravated, which I'm kind of sorry for. But, yeah, normally I like playing against the crowd because it feels like I have to step up and rise to the occasion.

Yeah, I mean, I like those situations.

Q. I noticed you buried your head many times under your towel during the changeovers. What kind of inspiration did you draw from those moments? Can you share with us what's happening under the towel?
NAOMI OSAKA: I was just collecting my thoughts.

Q. I saw the two of you had an embrace at the end, a little chat. What did you say to her at the end?
NAOMI OSAKA: Did she already do her press conference?

Q. Not yet.
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, basically I was saying -- like she said congrats to me. I was basically apologizing because I feel like today I was more emotional than what I normally am trying to be like. Yeah, I mean, like the match itself it was very draining.

So, yeah, I feel like we both fought as hard as we could.

Q. Tough game for you. After you finally won, we saw you cried on the bench. What was going on? Why did you cry?
NAOMI OSAKA: Because it was a hard match. That's basically why.

Q. There are some tapes on your back. You were stretching a lot coming to the end of that match. Are you feeling okay physically or are you also struggling with some injury?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I mean, I've had the tape on my back since the first round. It's just something that I'm working through. But if I lost or anything, I wouldn't say that was the main reason. It's not a big deal, I think.

Q. From 4-1 or 5-3 down in the third set, for you, how did you feel it turned around? To us, your body language seemed better, you stopped missing, maybe Zhang played different. It was a stark turnaround in the third set. How do you explain that?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, for me I guess I stopped thinking about winning or losing too much. I just thought that the way I'm acting right now, I'm probably going to regret it if I don't change it.

I just tried to think, like, one point at a time, just try to be grateful that I'm playing, so...

Q. I saw that at two points in the game you talked to your coach. Any advice he gave you that you think helped you turn the match around?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, he was just telling me to calm down, think that it's just a tennis match, which is kind of hard for me because I train so hard for these matches.

But yeah, I mean, I called him at 5-4 I think in the third set. I think I was on serve. Yeah, he was really helpful just, like, telling me not to blast serves, which I did anyways in the end. But, yeah, it was nice to hear it.

Q. A lot of Japanese people were watching your game in Japan. Could you give a comment to your fans in Japanese, please.
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, what I want to say, I don't really know the words in Japanese.

But, yeah, I want to say that I'm grateful that you guys are watching, even though -- oh, it's the same time zone (smiling).

Yeah, I'm grateful that you guys are watching. Thank you for all the support. Yeah, hopefully I can play better in the next round.

Q. When you are behind in a set, what is it you say to yourself to get yourself pumped back up, get out there and take the win?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, basically the same thing. Even if there's a small thing that I can do or, like, even to just put one more ball over, if it changes the outcome of the rally or the outcome of the match, then I'll do it.

Yeah, just try to stay as focused as I can, which I didn't really do that well today, but it's something that I'm working on.

Q. I had a question about your serve speed. At the end of the match it was 193, your ace. Have you ever gotten up to 200 before? What is the upper limit with your serve? Do you know how fast you can do?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think I actually have hit, like, over 200. It's not miles, it's...

Q. ...kilometers.
NAOMI OSAKA: I know that I have. It doesn't really go in that much, so...

Q. You are in the semifinals. You play Sevastova next. Talk about what to expect against her. Also you came here to Beijing having never won a main-draw match here, and you're into the semifinals. How proud are you of that?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I've played Sevastova twice, and both were on hard courts, yeah. I know that she's a great player. Everyone knows this. It's like at this round, of course you have to be good.

So, yeah, I'm expecting a really hard match. I know that she's going to fight really hard. We both are, so...

About like the semis thing, I didn't even notice until yesterday that I've never won a round here. Hopefully I keep the momentum.

Q. In the rankings, you are No. 4 right now. Actually it's the highest ranking of previous Japanese women players. What is your thought on that?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, actually I was talking to Kimiko in the French Open. I think that was right after I won Indian Wells. We were talking about how my ranking was high, that she had the highest ranking, which was 4. I was like, Oh, it would be nice to get there. But I wasn't really thinking too much that I would do it this year.

I think it's really cool. I shouldn't say 'cool'. I think it's really amazing that I was able to do it. Of course, I want to keep going. But for me, ranking right now isn't really a priority. It's more, like, winning this tournament right now I think is my main goal.

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