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October 31, 2019

Belinda Bencic

Shenzhen, China

B. BENCIC/K. Bertens

7-5, 1-0 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When did you first realize she was feeling unwell?
BELINDA BENCIC: I didn't realize it during the whole match. I didn't know. I didn't think she would retire. I didn't even know what she had. Maybe you guys can tell me.

Q. Talk about what it feels like, first WTA Finals and you're into the semifinals.
BELINDA BENCIC: Feels pretty amazing. I mean, especially we made it like on last minute, now semifinal, through the group after I lost first match. I mean, it feels very nice, I have to say. I'm super proud of the work we did all the year with my team. So thanks to them, as well.

Q. I'm sure it's not the way you wanted to get through into the semifinals. It feels indicative of the way that you and Kiki fought all the way through. Talk about how you feel having been so disappointed in the first-round match.
BELINDA BENCIC: Definitely, it was very nice to finally get this match, Bencic-Bertens, after such a fight in the end of the season. Maybe her gas just really ran out.

Yeah, it was a bit unfortunate. Obviously not the way I wanted to win, but super proud of how I fought in that set. I was thinking maybe she wins the first set, maybe different story.

Yeah, I'm just really proud about it. I think after I lost the first match here, I just wanted to kind of keep fighting, and you never know. There's people that made it to the semifinal when they won just one match. I was always thinking of those positives.

You always have to fight till the end. I think everyone is, like, exhausted and injured, all of that. I think now it's all about the mental strength to go through all of this.

Q. Talk about your connection with Martina Hingis, her mom. How does it make your win today so special with her watching?
BELINDA BENCIC: The connection, I've practiced at her mother's academy from six years old until I was 18, 19 years old. Obviously I saw Martina on the tournaments, as well. She knew me as a small kid, junior. Now she's still involved with the Fed Cup team. We're still talking, close. Obviously when she's on big tournaments like this, we see each other, we talk.

Yeah, it's nice she's watching. She's an ambassador here. It feels really nice to kind of keep representing Switzerland in these events. After she played here, I can play here, that's pretty nice, yeah.

Q. Talk about the adjustments you made halfway through the opening set. Seemed like you started to get more aggressive, not letting her sit at the baseline and dictate.
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, it's exactly what I felt. I needed to do that. I had no choice because she was really, like, slowing down the pace. Especially on this court, yeah, it's good for her and players like her with the slices and with the off-pace shots.

I definitely tried to force that and make her more, like, under pressure, go through it, make my shots faster. Obviously it was not easy because she always kind of from the defense made me start the point all over again. Yeah, I wish this court was faster, but it's not. I had to kind of change it.

Q. Looks like since you finished second, Elina finished first in the group, you will face off in the semis. What will be the challenges to play her? Do you focus more on how you need to adjust your game given this court suits her? What do you need to be aware of?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, for sure, she's one of the players that this court suits a lot, more the defensive ones. Also she can turn around the rally and turn it into offense. I'm aware of that.

I think I'll focus on my game. I've reached semifinals. I'm so relaxed already really. I will just play and, yeah, fight like always. Obviously I'll focus on my game, trying to be aggressive, all the things that you say to yourself before matches.

Q. At this point of the season many players are tired, injured. You have a history of injuries. Do you take extra time to do treatment or how do you maintain your body this year?
BELINDA BENCIC: Well, I think it's a lot of things. I think first of all the scheduling is really important. I realized that when I was younger. I wanted to play every tournament because I was so excited. Now I think scheduling is really important.

I think I got a lot fitter, which kind of helped me also, like, injury prevention but also being fit on the court. Yeah, I don't know, I don't do more treatment, but I feel like not everything is hurting any more.

Q. The second half of the season making the semis at the US Open, under pressure the last couple months to get this spot, what does that say about you as a player this year?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I feel really confident under pressure now somehow. Makes me really proud. Obviously everyone misses their chances sometimes, loses tough battles. For now I'm really happy it works out for me. I'm trying to be fearless on the court, not being afraid from the loss but play for a victory.

I'm really proud already how I handled my nerves in Moscow because that was insane crazy. I was never so nervous in my life. Now here, like, yeah, it just felt less. I feel like everything is going to feel less nerve-wracking than Moscow.

Q. Given the way your season has gone the last two or three months, are you sad the season is finishing this week?
BELINDA BENCIC: No, I'm not sad (laughter).

I mean, I really want to rest. I'm exhausted, like everyone. I think the season is long enough already. I'm really excited I'm going to be two months at home. I will not pack a suitcase. I will not board a flight. I will just be home and feel like a normal person doing, like, laundry and having routines and stuff.

Q. Will you do your pre-season training at home in Switzerland?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yes. I will not board a plane (smiling).

Q. Switzerland is not a very big country, at least compared to China. You have Federer, Wawrinka and you. If you have to name one reason, what is it?
BELINDA BENCIC: I don't know. It's a very tough question.

Did you know that Switzerland, Slovakia and Czech Republic have less people live than living here in Shenzhen? Here it's 22 million. All of these countries have less. That's a fact in case you didn't know (smiling).

Switzerland, I don't know, we have good chocolate, that may be the reason.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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