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February 15, 2019

Elise Mertens

Doha, Qatar

E. MERTENS/A. Kerber

6-4, 2-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. This was your first time playing Angie. How did you prepare for the match? And how happy are you with today's win?
ELISE MERTENS: I knew it was going to be a really difficult match to play. I mean, I had to play aggressive, stay on my line, because she can put that one ball back in the court.

So I think first set, I'm really happy that I won the first set, because the game I played I think was good. Second set she found solutions. Still pretty close, but, yeah, third set was just refresh, start back again, and play more aggressive than the second set, stay more on the line.

I think my service really helped me today, also, that first percentage in the court and make some balls.

Q. Your coach, David, has coached against players like Angie a lot in the past. How much did he help you ahead of the match?
ELISE MERTENS: Yeah, of course it's very important to have David also on my team, because he has that experience, knows a lot of players. You know, it comes to the little things in tennis, especially on this level.

Q. It's your second appearance here in Doha. Were you thinking in the beginning of the week that you would reach your first final?
ELISE MERTENS: Well, maybe not (smiling). Tennis is full of surprises. I think women's tennis is really close to each other. Everybody is a great competitor, works hard. So I'm really happy that I got the win today.

Q. You're going to play Simona tomorrow. Is there something that you have to adjust from the way you played today, for example?
ELISE MERTENS: I think I can play loose. I have to play relaxed, because then you know if you play at your best. Yeah, I have to play aggressive, not too much. She can bring a lot of balls back. But I'm mentally prepared for tomorrow.

Q. Before the tournament start, everybody was talking about how much difficulties to play Fed Cup and then coming here. But tomorrow, the two finalists, you played Fed Cup and Simona also played Fed Cup. You had at least rhythm to play here?
ELISE MERTENS: Yes, I think it really helps when you play Fed Cup to come -- of course, I didn't win my matches, wasn't great matches. But, you know, I worked hard that week. And I think with Johan as Fed Cup captain, he was really positive and looked at the bright side. That gave me a lot of motivation to come here.

Q. What's different about the preparation mentally and emotionally when you have to play a final versus a second or third round?
ELISE MERTENS: I just look at round per round, and I look at the opponents. I am trying to not look too much on I'm in the semis and the final. Of course you know, but I think it's important to just stay focused and try to play your game.

Q. You played three finals last year. You won all three. How much do you think that experience will help you coming into tomorrow?
ELISE MERTENS: That helps, I think, especially once you have been there, you know, the nerves. But of course you know what you can do, and I have to feel confident. I feel confident because, you know, I had a great match today.

But of course Simona has a lot of experience, too, so it's going to be a difficult one.

Q. Three titles last year. Now it's your first premier final. What are you most proud of in terms of improvements you have made year over year?
ELISE MERTENS: Well, at the beginning of the year, in January, the tennis year, maybe I didn't really have the results that I wanted yet. So I think improvement also mentally to just stay focused every point is really important against these top players and just to, you know, to do that a little bit more, be more in the court.

Q. You have done well in January the last couple of years. Did you have a different sort of offseason that maybe made the start of the season a bit tougher?
ELISE MERTENS: I had a really hard preseason. I worked really hard. It didn't really come together in Australia. Of course, not bad results but not the way I wanted it.

But, you know, tennis, every week there is another tournament, so every week you can improve yourself.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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