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October 23, 2019

Elise Mertens

Zhuhai, China

E. MERTENS/M. Sakkari

6-2, 3-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. That was a strong finish from you in the third set. What adjustments did you make after the second and what do you think went wrong for you maybe in the second?
ELISE MERTENS: Just went a little bit up-and-down, my level. At the beginning, I mean, it was okay, made some mistakes at the beginning. And then I tried too much, I think in the second set. She played better, so, I mean, all credits to her.

I think in the third set I just tried to step up my game a little bit, a little bit more aggressive, make some balls, just to try to build appoint and then go for it.

Q. How did you find the conditions tonight or this afternoon and did you feel that they were any different than like when you were practicing versus playing in a match situation? How did you feel?
ELISE MERTENS: They were a little bit different. The court is a bit slower, the bounces are low, but that's something that's good. The balls are a bit fluffy after a time. At first they're like pretty hard when they're new, but it's just the conditions that you have to work with and you have to accept it and try to challenge it. I think that I did that pretty well today, so I just, I'm just really happy to be here and play.

Q. Just with the low bouncing balls. Like is the ball skidding through the court and are there, can you compare it to any other kind of set of conditions on the tour?
ELISE MERTENS: I think like last week Luxembourg is, I mean, it's a different surface, it's wood and it's hard court, but still they're both low bounces, maybe a bit slower here. But, I mean, that's good for the rallies, that's good when you get the opportunity to just build a point and then strike. So I think it's just a bit, lower the bounce, but still, I mean, you have to get through it.

Q. In a round robin format there can sometimes be math in different scenarios, but because both you and Aryna both won your matches it's a straight knockout. Is that a relief in any way for you?
ELISE MERTENS: Well to win this match is actually a relief to play Aryna next, because you know if you lost the match in two sets or three sets it's another situation. So it's kind of a good thing that I won this match, even if it was in three sets, it actually doesn't really matter any more, because Aryna won both in two sets.

So, yeah, it's an opportunity for us both, but we're just going to go for it and then next week we'll be on the same side of the court.

Q. Speaking of Aryna, she's talked about being more positive and feeling better about herself in the last few week. You played doubles with her all year, have you noticed a difference in her in the last couple of weeks?
ELISE MERTENS: Yeah, maybe at the beginning she didn't play a lot of doubles yet, she just was adjusting a little bit, maybe a bit hard on herself sometimes. I think she has improved that pretty quickly. She's playing better and better, I think, at the end of the year, when she was playing Wuhan. And when she can strike, she can strike. When she has her game on point it's difficult to beat her.

But I'm just going to try everything to beat her and just try to make a plan A, a plan B and we'll see.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.

Q. We know that you're going to team up with Sabalenka next week in doubles in Shenzhen and it's also the same kind of format in round robin. How are you preparing for that event in Shenzhen and are you going to continue to work with Sabalenka next year in doubles?
ELISE MERTENS: Well, we can't really practice doubles at the moment, so just, yeah, just this week is still happening, so we're going to go focus on this week a hundred percent. And if we're both out, then, yes, we'll play practice doubles. But at the moment one of us has to practice on their own after this. But, yeah, I mean, I'm playing her, playing with her next week, but it's just another opponent and the match is finished and then we're friends again. I think we're going to play next year too.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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