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September 27, 2019

Aryna Sabalenka

Wuhan, Hubei, China


7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You're back in the final. How are you feeling about the match and your performance today?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, of course I'm happy to be in the final. It was really tough match. I can't say that we both play on a great level. I just happy that I could find the way how to win this match.

But it was really tough.

Q. Talk about the match point, the backhand.
ARYNA SABALENKA: I was, like, I don't know. On the beginning of the point, I was thinking, Okay, put as much balls in as you can. On the last one, I was like, Okay, doesn't matter what, just go for it. I'll hit it. If it's in, then I'm happy. If it's not, okay, I have another chance.

Q. In the first set, you had the early break, you were playing so well. She seemed to get a little bit of the momentum back. The 3-4 game, really important for you to hold there. What were you telling yourself having to fight through that? I think that game went to deuce.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, 3-4 was really tough game for me. I felt like she started play really well, like she's getting back on it. I just tried to stay there, tried to put as much balls as I can, just try to save this game. Otherwise, it's 3-5, then for sure she'll take it. That's why she No. 1.

I was going for shots. I was trying to play with the discipline. It wasn't like a great level, that game for me. But somehow, doesn't matter how, I was trying to go there to put the balls in.

I'm happy that I could handle this pressure from her.

Q. Talk about how this week you're doing well in singles, well in doubles. What has been the biggest driving force for you to bring out your best so far?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Like I said before, just my mindset was, Okay, doesn't matter what, I will go for these shots. I'm not afraid of losing. I'm not afraid of anything. I'll just go for it like I was before. Before I'll try to come back on that feeling like fearless game.

Just to be like a tiger there. That was my biggest change I think before this tournament. Of course, it was tough to handle all this pressure, like defending champion. I'm still under this pressure, but I have this feeling like doesn't matter what, I'll fight for it. I will try to control everything I can.

Q. Is there a different feeling this year reaching the final, considering what you went through this season? Is it more enjoyable? Is there more meaning in it?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, I think it means a lot for me. It feels even better than last year. Last year was the first time Premier final, Premier title. This year it was really tough season for me. To get back on that level, it feels much more enjoyable, yes (laughter).

For sure it feels much better than last year.

Q. You talked about wanting to feel free on the court at the beginning of the week. It's easy to say that, but to be able to do it against the reigning No. 1, Bertens, what does that say about your mind?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, of course, it's easy to say, but to do it much tougher. All season I was trying to, like, stay in the point, don't go for crazy shots, play with discipline.

This time I was like, Didn't work well, so it's nothing to lose. I'll try to do something differently. I started play the way how I should play all this season. I start to play actually how Dmitry was asking me for. I was like, Okay, I think I found this right balance.

Q. Talk about your potential opponents in the final, Petra or Alison.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, anyway both of them are great fighters. It's going to be really tough. Doesn't matter who is going to be there.

I'll be there for fight. Doesn't matter who is going to be there.

Q. You're making the finals the second time in a row. What do you think is the biggest change that has happened to you in the last 12 months?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Like you asking me what did I change?

Q. Yes.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Like I said before, I just changed my mindset. I just make a decision to be, like, fearless and go for shots, doesn't matter what. This was my big change, which helped me to go through all these crazy matches.

Q. Not sure if you remember this. Last year you said the fried rice give you extra power. What about this year? Do you find anything that is special to you?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think this year the crowd helps me to feel much better.

Q. This tournament does a pretty good job of treating its defending champions like defending champions. You were invited to the opening ceremony, all the pomp and circumstance. Does that make you feel good? Does that make more pressure?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Of course, it's a little pressure. To be honest, I didn't really want to go there and do all this stuff. I just wanted to focus on myself, to relax, to get ready for this week.

At the same time I wanted to go there to feel this kind of feeling like last year, to remember all these good moment happens here.

It's like little pressure, but at same time it helping me to feel the crowd, feel this court, all this atmosphere.

Q. Compare the feeling between winning a title in singles and a title in doubles. Have you thought about what it would feel like to win both?
ARYNA SABALENKA: This is what I'm going for. I don't know. We just sign in doubles here. I don't know, I mean, doubles helps me to find this confidence. I don't want to leave it. I want to play as much matches as I can to kind of be on this great feeling, like don't lose this confidence.

Also doubles, it's really enjoyable to play with Elise. It helps me to relax, clean my mind, be ready for the next singles match.

But if I can win both, like, doubles and singles in one week, it would be really cool. Why not?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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