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October 27, 2018

Elina Svitolina

Kallang, Singapore


7-5, 6-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was such a tough match. How important was this win for you? What do you feel got you over the finish line?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, definitely was important, you know, for everything, I think. You know, for confidence, for proving myself that, you know, I can be, you know, strong and play well in important moments and in big stages. Definitely, you know, it's something very special moment for me.

Q. How improved of a player this year do you feel compared to last year in Singapore?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, I feel more mature. I feel more -- yeah, mature, I would say, because you really have to bring your best game in big moments. That's what matters the most.

Q. What do you think made the difference today, do you think?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I think physically I was a little bit stronger maybe, mentally a little bit pushed myself a little bit more. It's tough to say, because I think only few points decided the third set, because we both was playing, you know, good tennis.

Okay, okay, there was up-and-down, but it's kind of expected because, you know, it's semifinal of the Championships. I have to accept you have to move forward. You know, I was very happy the way I could come back and into the match, because losing second set, you know, I had my chances. Then losing that second game in the third set where, you know, I was just struggling a little bit, and then bounced back straightaway, this, I think, made the big difference.

In the end, you know, it's the small details that really matters the most. That's why I finished with a win today.

Q. What were you thinking after losing that second game of the third set? What do you tell yourself to sort of regroup to win the next game and the match?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I was just telling myself, Next point, just go for it, don't wait for anything. Just, you know, be out there.

As my coach said, you know, Just show up and, you know, do the job. And then if you lose, you have no regrets.

That's I think what I did. For me, that really showed that, you know, I can play great tennis in big stages. That's what matters for me. I think it's good step for me for the future and for the Grand Slams, as well.

Q. You have the opportunity tomorrow to fight for the biggest title of your career. Can I ask you, what's it like mentally to fight for such a high-stakes thing at the end of the season? There is mental fatigue, physical fatigue? How has this whole week been for you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, definitely very special, but also very special on the player who gonna be on the other side of the net. So I'm not alone, playing against myself. I'm going to be there tomorrow, try to play my best. That's, you know, the last match, definitely the last match of the season, so I'm just gonna leave everything on court and, you know, we'll see what the future holds.

Q. You earned your place last year, but somehow it feels like your focus has sharpened a lot this particular week. What do you think is the key for that?
ELINA SVITOLINA: As I already mentioned in the press conference earlier, I worked on mental toughness, and that's, yeah, that's pretty much what helped me to go through, you know, the Wozniacki match and today's match. Every match here, you know, starting from Kvitova to definitely I had to stay really, really strong, because I lost many times against her, and opening match definitely I didn't want to start the same way as I started last year, so I had to be there and, you know, play my best game.

So far I'm playing great. But the job is not done yet. So tomorrow is gonna be another challenge, and I want to play the same level.

Q. This tournament is quite unique in terms of this round-robin format, and the conditions are quite tough because outside it's really humid and inside is kind of cold. I was wondering, is your preparation or your routine different compared to other ordinary tournaments?
ELINA SVITOLINA: My preparation is always kind of the same. Here we are playing inside, not playing tournaments indoors, but now I think more and more that center courts are getting with a roof or more closed. So my preparation was the same. I was working really hard to be physically very strong, playing tough matches. I think it's paying off, because I had three matches, three-setters, and I'm playing good tennis, moving well.

Yeah, I think for the last tournament of the year it was something what I needed.

Q. Sloane Stephens yesterday was talking about how the bottom four seeds are the ones who made it into the semifinals and how one of the motivating factors for her was she had something to prove, you know, to show that, yeah, we barely made it in, but in the end, we are the ones who did well. How big of a motivating factor is it for you that element of maybe trying to prove, whether to yourself or others, to prove them wrong or to prove to yourself that you can do this?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, the mention about it, lots of -- yeah, there was lots of talking about my second part of the season and my physique, my performance lately. So, you know, this really motivated me.

You know, when I qualified for this tournament, definitely decided that, you know, I'm going to just go for it and, you know, I'm good enough, I'm going to trust my game, gonna trust, you know, myself. And here I am in the final, so it's something that's really matters with me and really special moment for me, and I think definitely for the future it's something that I can be proud of.

Q. You have played Kiki three times now. Do you think she has the tools to stay in the top 10 for longer?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, definitely she plays great tennis. We could see that second half of the season.

I say before, I always was, you know, see that she's a great player. She always showed great results on the clay court, winning lots of tournaments and playing well Roland Garros and (indiscernible).

For me, it's not a surprise that she plays well on all surfaces. Definitely I think she has, you know, she has the game to be there.

Q. You said over the years that you're constantly trying to find that key that will allow you to kind of play really well at the big tournaments, at the majors. How different of a mentality and what is the difference of the mentality that you went into Singapore with compared to maybe when you went into the French after winning Rome and into some of the hard court tournaments, as well?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, always try to find something, something new, something fresh that can bring something into my game. And I think this is why playing well, consistent, for me, you know, the small things can make a difference. Sometimes, of course, they're not gonna work, but you have to accept and move forward.

You know, I'm convinced that if you learn from your mistakes, you always gonna find the right path and what's gonna work for you. So I always try to do that. For me, it's, you know, very important to just stay focused and, you know, just be aware of what works for me. It's probably, because our season is very long and we have lots of different matches and different surface and different conditions, so that's why you have to adapt. That's the key.

You cannot play all the time same game and expect that it's gonna work every day. Like today, for example, there was lots of pressure, and I think more mentally than, you know, than anything else made a difference today.

So you have to always adjust and be flexible. That's, I think, what's important in tennis.

Q. You mentioned working on mental toughness. I'm curious if there is anything specific you have been working on, visualization, talking to somebody, talking through the ways you are right now, just getting more philosophical about things?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, as I said, I have been -- I have been working on it for maybe three, four years now. It's just different, different things I have been focusing on lately. It's about talking with the right people and obviously with my team.

You know, there is few people with whom I'm working really close. Yeah, that's it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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