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October 26, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Kallang, Singapore


6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You said you expected a tough match against Angie. Can you talk us through the key moments for you.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. Obviously playing Angie is always tough for me. She's No. 2 player in the world. She's a tough match. Obviously coming here and playing against the top players in the world, nothing is going to be easy.

Yeah, I just prepared. Obviously a lot on the line today, trying to make the semis and trying to get through. I just tried to do my best and battled as hard as I could and stick to my game plan.

Q. Did you know going in the scenarios had switched to winner takes all? Had you prepared or did you just ignore it and think, just go out for the win?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, no, I had no idea. I purposely didn't look or go into it or anything, because I was, like, I don't want to know what the situation is. I was, like, just play and whatever happens happens.

Q. Can you tell me what you think you have done best this week? What are you most proud of?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think I just competed really hard. I stayed solid every match. Obviously the conditions were kind of neutral for everyone. The court is a little bit slow.

I knew from the start I was going to have to battle and every match was going to be a tough one. It's not every day or every tournament that you play three top-10 players in a row or four top-10, whatever it is now. Yeah, just get out there and battle and play as hard as you can and whatever happens happens.

Q. Winning all three of your matches in round robin, it's high quality opposition, but does it feel like a regular tournament and the way you don't have to worry about necessarily round robin and losing and coming back and all that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I guess, because in a regular tournament you lose and you're done, it's like, whatever, right?

I think it's a little tricky on the mental. Like I didn't lose, but for someone who was 1-1 or whatever and was battling to get to the semis, I think it's a little tough, a little tricky, because you're thinking of all the scenarios in your head, like if I lose this set or these games or whatever. So it's a little weird, but whatever. I don't know (smiling).

Q. The lower four seeds are into the semifinals for the first time in WTA Finals history or something like that. I'm curious what your take is on that just the way the season has kind of played out? Doesn't really seem that surprising to me, but I don't know what your thoughts are.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think obviously the girls that were the bottom four, so me, Svitolina, Bertens, and Karolina, I think we have all had great seasons and had some really great results. I think that obviously the top four have, too, but I think at the end, like when we were all battling towards the end of the year, everyone pretty much counted us out, because they were, like, Oh, they are barely going to qualify or barely get in.

I think that everyone came here with not nothing to lose but ready to kind of kick ass. I think we have all played, the four of us in our groups, I think we have all played really well, like even though when I played Kiki, that was probably the best match I played in the group.

So, yeah, I think it's great for us, great for the younger girls just to be able to prove ourselves and even get this far and get here. Yeah, it's kind of cool.

Q. In the second set you were 3-1 and 40-15 and it looked like you were going to steamroll straight through. But then you got a little bit passive, it looked like. Was there anything you felt that changed at that moment when she fought back, broke back and got it back to 3-All?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I was just thinking I'm playing against the No. 2 player in the world and she's probably going to try a little bit harder now and try to win.

Yeah, it just kind of slipped away from me, but I didn't lose focus. I just going and kept playing and tried my absolute hardest, and I got my opportunity at 4-3 when I broke there. Was happy with that. Couldn't complain. Just stayed focused and kept going.

Q. What's it like so late in the season having such a high-stakes opportunity like this one? Is it different to when it's a slam or when you were in Miami? Later in the season I'm assuming there is some mental fatigue? Tell me what it's like.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, definitely. I think there is light at the end of the tunnel, like you just play your butt off here for the end and whatever happens happens. Whatever happens tomorrow, I played really hard in the group and I did my absolute best.

Coming towards the end of the season, I haven't played well in Asia, but I won six matches in Asia this season now. I can be proud of that. I think that this was like my goal this year, was to make it here and try my best to get here. Getting here, playing well, that's all you can really ask for.

And then just, you know, going into next season, just have a little bit of confidence and know you belong at the top is, I think more than anything, gives you a little bit of a boost. Like I said, happy to be here and happy to be playing good tennis.

Q. Your thoughts on playing Karolina next. You played in Madrid a few months ago. What are your thoughts heading into that one?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, obviously she has a really big serve, but I think the court kind of neutralizes that. I think it will be a good match. Obviously playing semis, you're playing, I don't know, what are we, 8 and 9 in the world, something like that? Or whatever. I don't know. A single-digit number when you're playing someone that's a single-digit number is always tough. Just going to go out there and play my best and do what I have been doing all week and try to have another good match.

Q. What's your go-to Boba flavor?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I like mango black tea. Peach black tea. No, mango black tea or peach black tea.

Q. With milk or no milk?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No milk. I'm lactose (smiling).

Q. Since this is your first time in Singapore in the Finals, but off the court, has there been any part of this experience that has maybe surprised you that you didn't expect?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I think it's been good. Like obviously when you're playing a tournament with only eight tournaments, there is a lot less stress. When you walk around the hotel, you don't see like 30,000 players. You maybe see one person at breakfast.

Like I saw Kvitova this morning at breakfast. It's the only time I've ever seen a player at breakfast. I was, like, Wow, I wonder what she's eating. Like it's a little bit different.

I think just being here, in general, the hotel is amazing, everything's great, but the days do go by fast, because we obviously have been playing late matches. You come to the site, they have everything here, you can get your nails done, and do this and do that.

It's been very fun, a fun week that's gone by really fast and with some great tennis that you can't really -- you appreciate being here and just happy to be here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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