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August 31, 2019

Kristie Ahn

New York, NY, USA

K. AHN/J. Ostapenko

6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are your feelings about surviving Ostapenko?
KRISTIE AHN: I mean, obviously it's always going to be a tough battle with her. I'm just really proud of how I was able to stay mentally focused and not let the nerves get the best of me.

She's come back from pretty much every score possible probably, so I was really keen on getting first match point done.

Q. How much did the crowd help?
KRISTIE AHN: You guys have no idea. That was so cool. I've never played in front of a stadium that filled before, so it was pretty awesome to have, like, the majority of everyone cheering for me.

Q. Such an emotional few days and weeks for you. How do you rein it all in and get back to work every day?
KRISTIE AHN: I think if I don't fully process it, then I'll never have to fully deal with it (smiling).

No, when I go back to the hotel, I just think about how awesome of an opportunity it is and what a great experience it's been this week. Nobody can take that away from me. So I'm just so happy about it.

Q. Talk about the celebration, what it was like when you saw the video?
KRISTIE AHN: So Ellen Perez on Twitter was like, You add a second to your celebration every win. She was expecting a three-second celebration. I tried to make it a little more dramatic. No, I'm just kidding.

It was exciting, because I hit an ace, which I never do. That was exciting. I could finally let my emotions get to me. The crowd roared. It was such a cool environment.

Yeah, when I looked back, I was like, You cried, what a little baby. All my friends told me they cried, too, so I guess that's okay.

Q. What do you attribute your success to in this Open? What was your preparation coming in?
KRISTIE AHN: It's been really good. I feel like I've surrounded myself with a good team. Since Wimbledon, I've been able to accumulate a lot of little life chips, like little wins. We call it stacking up the wins. Even if you lose a match, what you're able to take away, the positives, and being able to just keep that building. One day you'll be able to have little towers.

I feel like that's what I've been able to really hold onto this week, is in those tough moments know that I've been playing really good tennis. And the tennis that I've been playing, I'm not just training out of my mind, I've backed it up. That's even a better feeling.

Q. Now that your tower has you in the fourth round, what is that looking like?
KRISTIE AHN: It's like the Empire State Building now (smiling).

Yeah, I feel like the tennis has been the same but it's just the ability to mentally dig in a little bit deeper in those tough moments. And I feel like that's what's really been stacking me these past couple weeks.

Q. You have Mertens next. You played recently and also here. Talk about those matches.
KRISTIE AHN: So I played her here in 2016, last round of quallies. That was my first time playing in quallies in the US Open since high school, 2009. It was a really tight, close match. I remember feeling so nervous, feeling just so disappointed when I lost a tight second set, I think. Then she became top 20 in the world. Okay, cool.

Then the last time we played, I think it was her first hard court match, her first match since Wimbledon, her first hard court of the season, and I had probably six or seven. To kind of put those together, it will be really cool. Obviously we're both in very different places from both of those tournaments.

I think it will just come down to who's able to take in the moment better because obviously we're both playing pretty good tennis right now.

Q. Does it help you having a familiar opponent in an unfamiliar stage?
KRISTIE AHN: Not necessarily. I think it would have been cool to play someone I've never played before as well because you don't know each other's game, you kind of want to see. I don't know, I feel like it's cool to play different people, yeah.

Q. Being from the East Bay, can you give a word on Forood? Is there any lesson from Stanford that you're taking with you?
KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, Lele texted me after my second-round win. Whenever Lele sends you a text, it's like you're getting a message from the president or something. I sent a text to all my teammates, Lele texted me.

They're like, Oh, my God.

She never texts us. That was exciting.

She definitely has taught me how to keep my, like, composure. She does that better than anybody else. Especially in those tight moments, to keep a clear head, to keep moving forward, just don't look back, yeah.

Q. Someone asked Taylor Townsend today if she found value in her journey. How do you reflect on your journey and what was the biggest battle?
KRISTIE AHN: I'd be lying if I said, like, Oh, yeah, I'm so happy I didn't find success right away.

But to be transparent with myself, as well, I don't know if I ever would have gotten this far if this had happened at a different time in my life. I feel like I've had a lot of closure with myself in different scenarios.

This is a buildup, accumulation of everything. Yeah, pretty much less like, Every up and down was worth it. No, it was like, yeah, a lot of it sucked, especially when you think about hanging the racquet up a couple times along the way.

I mean, I literally didn't even think about this moment right now, fourth round, second week, until this morning. Then I was like, Wouldn't it be cool to make the second week? Oh, yeah.

But up until now, it's literally just been like second to second. I still can't process what just happened, to be honest.

Q. How would it be to make the quarterfinals?
KRISTIE AHN: I couldn't tell you yet. Apparently I'll tell you about it the morning of. That seems to be my tradition. It's like when you procrastinate, you only give yourself an hour to write the paper. If I only give myself an hour to think about quarterfinals, I will only freak out for the hour before.

Q. How are you feeling physically?
KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, I had a little left foot slip during my match today. I don't quite know. I played doubles today because I'm really adamant. Unless I were literally unable to walk, I owe it to my partner. We definitely wanted to go out and play.

But right now I'm a bit sore. Hopefully I'm feeling better tomorrow. But I can't quite assess that yet.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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