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May 9, 2019

Belinda Bencic

Madrid, Spain

B. BENCIC/N. Osaka.

3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. How important was this match for you? You were really happy at the end because you were losing or because you didn't expect to win?
BELINDA BENCIC: I mean, I'm usually always happy when I win a match but, of course, now it was because I'm in the semifinals and I beat the world No. 1 and I turned the match around, so I think it was a combination of everything (smiling).

Q. Next round Simona Halep. What do you expect from that match? She's the ultimate challenge on clay in the last two years, especially in this tournament. What do you expect from that match-up?
BELINDA BENCIC: Well, honestly, I really haven't had time to think about her at all yet. For sure, I think she's a very solid player, a great player. She's been on the top for very long time now and the clay specialist. So, it will be for sure a tough match. I have reached more again than I imagined in this tournament and, in that case, I will just play very freely and very brave and hope to play a good match tomorrow.

Q. Do you think you have any advantage? You have won against her in the last match-up you have against her?
BELINDA BENCIC: I mean, it can be an advantage. I know how the ball feels from her. I know how it feels to play her. For sure, it's very different every week, so it's not helping me at all for tomorrow that I played her. It will be a whole different match and that's why I have to start from zero.

Q. First set, she was playing really good, serving good and basically she had to be in dominating. So how did you make the turnaround in the second set and the end of the third set?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I also found she was playing very good, she was putting me under a lot of pressure and I didn't catch a very good start on the start of the match. And then, in the second set, I just tried to play a little bit more aggressive, more brave, tried to push her more and go for my shots more. I feel like that helped a lot.

I also started serving better I found and yeah, I don't know how I turned it around. I just tried to hang in there and keep, and play for every ball and somehow it turned around.

Q. It looked like you had the momentum early in that third set. Seemed like she was reeling a bit and then she went on that roll and get up a break. What were you kind of telling yourself because especially down the last few games, it seemed like you got quiet, very composed?
BELINDA BENCIC: (Laughing) Quiet?

Q. A little bit. And you seemed to weather that storm and run away with it in the end?
BELINDA BENCIC: (Smiling) 3-5, I knew I was going to win (laughing). I'm joking, of course. I feel like 3-5 is my score now to turn around (laughing). I was believing that, why not, why can it not happen? I realized. I just tried to go for my shots, to swing.

I got more calm, yes, you are right. I just tried to give the best I have to go swinging for my shots and just remain like this until the match is over and somehow it paid off (smiling).

Q. Now, you've won two matches in a row against Naomi. Did you come up with any particular recipe to beat her, especially against her serve?
BELINDA BENCIC: I mean, for sure it helped that I had played her before. I know how the ball feels. I feel like people underestimate who are watching on the TV. Her ball is very heavy, you cannot see, but she puts you under a lot of pressure with all her shots, so you don't have time to construct the rally and to play around.

It is, like, it is going down right now (smiling). So, I think that is very difficult, but I knew, like, that this is expecting me.

I just really tried to play my game. I feel like she also has a little bit of problems with my game, so I tried to do what I did in the Indian Wells, like going in, taking the time away from her and, like, attacking second serves, having my serve (smiling). I'm not going to tell you where (laughing). Sometimes, just these kind of details that I knew.

Q. You talked about taking time away from her and it seems like you always do rush her with your early ball striking. How did you learn how to do that? You seem like one of the earliest ball strikers on the tour?
BELINDA BENCIC: (Smiling) I feel like that was always my game. I feel like I got taught this way actually from the mother of Martina Hingis, she is teaching this way, and I'm very grateful I learned it this way because I feel like it's a huge advantage and not many people do that.

So I'm just trying to use that skill that I have and just make it uncomfortable for the opponents.

Q. If you can, please, tell us what you remember about your match with Simona up front from Dubai. And how do you think your match-up will change here on clay?
BELINDA BENCIC: I cannot say it is going to be longer rallies because it was brutal long rallies in Dubai as well. I think it is always long rallies with her. I don't know how it's going to change. I will see tomorrow.

Definitely it's a different surface, a different city, different conditions, but yeah, hopefully I will have a little bit more time than today with Naomi and you know just will try to play the same as I always do and focus on my game, focus on myself. I'm always telling the same, but it is like the same.

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