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October 22, 2019

Aryna Sabalenka

Zhuhai, China


6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Can you just talk about the match. First of all, just generally how do you think you played and also just the conditions out there, how do you find that this court and the balls play?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, first of all I'm happy to win this match, of course. And it was not easy match, it always is tough to play against her, because she's a big fighter.

And anyway I knew that it's going to be a tough match and it's really humid out there and, I don't know, I was just trying to put as much as I could balls in, yes (smiling).

Q. With the court, from looking outside it looks like it's pretty fast, and so does that impact the way that you come up with your game plan tactically? Do you feel like you're being more aggressive out there to take advantage of how the court is playing?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I just know in the practice I didn't feel that the courts are really fast. But today, especially on the baseline, it was really, really fast.

Sometimes I was late, sometimes, and I, of course, I think it's helped my game a lot and, I don't know that the courts are fast, but it feels really comfortable, so...

Q. You and Maria played a really tough match in Cincy a few weeks ago and you really had to work hard to defend your serve, but today it seemed a bit easier for you. Curious what you did maybe differently today as opposed to that last match?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, that match I was crazy on the court, I was getting mad because of everything, so, and it wasn't that good game for me in Cincy.

So this time I was trying to stay calm until the end and just fight for every point, because she's a big fighter and she will go for it, it doesn't matter what, and so I was trying to stay focused on each point. And of course I think my game was more consistent today, so it's helped me to win in two sets.

Q. Does it feel strange the fact that you're playing just singles in this tournament, that you used to play also doubles?
ARYNA SABALENKA: It feels strange because we're in the same group as Elise. But, no, it feels really okay. It doesn't feel any weird things, so I'm happy to focus on the singles this week.

Q. You talked about last year being in a tricky situation, being one match away from the semis and having to only win one set. That could be the situation this time. Do you feel more ready for the unique pressures that this tournament format presents?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, of course there are some lessons from last year and hopefully this year I will do better. I'll just go out there and fight and also focus on each point and just try to think only about tennis.

Q. Obviously you play Elise next. Outside of just the friendship and the doubles partnership and stuff, just from tennis, having to play against her, what is the challenge of playing against her?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, she's a really consistent player and I think she's moving well. I just remember I played against her a couple of times and it was really tough matches. And I'm just ready for it, and it's going to be a big challenge, but I'm ready for it.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.

Q. The beautiful dress you had last night at the party, where did you get it and why have you chosen that one?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I bought it at Ted Baker, I think, and I don't know, I like the color of the dress and I just like the style (laughing), I don't know, I just like this dress. It's nice and cool.

Q. We notice that on your left forearm there's a seems like a tiger tattoo. So when did you get that and why? What does that mean to you? And in case you want more, what would you like in the future in terms of tattoo?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think I'm going to answer on this questions like every tournament, but, okay, I got it when I was 18 or 19, I think 18, and it's tiger because I was born in the year of the Tiger. And that was the first one and the last one, I don't want to make another one. I hope I'll not do it (laughing).

Q. So the question is about Stephanie Graf, which is, who is the ambassador of this tournament. And trying to ask you about what is your impression of Graf when you grow up and has she been a role model to you and what kind of implications she has on you, if that's the case.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Actually when I was growing up I was watching more Serena's matches and also Sharapova. But my impression, because she won the four Grand Slams in one year, right? She was a great player and I would like to say like nobody could beat her and she was the toughest one. And I just like the style of her game, it was like mine on the court. I don't think so that I would really be happy to play against her (laughing).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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