February 13, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
D. VEKIC/K. Kanepi
5-7, 7-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What a great match today. Kaia is a very tough opponent. Talk us through how you got through that match today.
DONNA VEKIC: Yeah, it was definitely a difficult match from the beginning to the end. I had to fight for every point. I was even a match point down and I thought I was really brave in some moments, so the fight really paid off in the end.
Q. I was wondering if you could talk me through that match point and what was going through your mind and how relieved you were and how proud you were to kind of go for that when you were in such a tough moment.
DONNA VEKIC: I was actually pretty pissed that I was a match point down because the game before I had a couple of break points on her serve, and I thought I was playing better. I thought the momentum was switching a little bit towards my side, so I was like, Okay, how am I a match point down, I don't want it to be over. I just really went for my shots, and in the tiebreak I felt like, okay, this set is mine.
In the third set it was very up and down. She was also a little bit up and down, playing some amazing shots, and then some errors. I was returning her serve much better in the third set. I also started to read it a little bit, which was helpful because in the first set I had zero chance on her serve.
Q. Kaia has such a reputation of being dangerous at Grand Slams. When you saw you were going to play her what was your game plan going in?
DONNA VEKIC: Actually I would rather play her than Kenin, I think. I beat her already in US Open a couple years ago, so I kind of knew what to expect, but I think she played a little bit better than what I expected today. I think nowadays you never expect an easy match, and I didn't expect an easy match today, but I also didn't expect this stuff.
Q. You made it to the fourth round of every Grand Slam now. What do you make of that kind of achievement, and how happy are you to start your season with a result like this?
DONNA VEKIC: Yeah, I'm really happy. I've never played the second week in Australia, so I think this is my worst slam when it comes to results. I'm surprised I did it this year with the courts being so fast and all that. I don't like this trend of Grand Slams making their courts faster and faster, but maybe I'm going to start liking it from now on, I don't know.
But yeah, I was just really upset there was no crowd today, so it was kind of also my motivation to win. I guess I have to win one more match or two more matches to have crowd again, I don't know. I hope to have another match here with a crowd.
Q. On the court were there any tactical adjustments you've been making that have been paying off that you didn't expect to have to make in preparation?
DONNA VEKIC: Yes, I definitely had a plan in place today, but she was hitting it so big and so hard, sometimes it was tough. I tried to open up the court to play some angles, but when you have bombs coming at you, it's difficult, so I tried to do what I can and just run.
Q. I'm curious going back to your first-round win here, I caught the end of that one and your reaction was quite one of relief and I wasn't sure if it was because you got the win finally. I don't know what the emotions were surrounding that. Can you take us back to that moment and what was going on in your mind?
DONNA VEKIC: Yeah, that was a huge relief because obviously I didn't win a lot of matches before this week, before this tournament, and anyway, we had the off-season break, and end of last year was so strange. I thought I was playing really good tennis. I thought I improved a lot in the off-season, but I just couldn't quite get over the edge in my first two matches of the season, so I was just really relieved to get the first win, and then already in the second round I felt better.
I mean, I think I'm still -- it might sound a bit weird because I'm in the second week, but I think I'm still far from my best tennis, so hopefully I can keep improving. I'm happy that I have a chance to play another match.
Q. How much did kind of getting that -- just starting off the tournament with a win, getting the relief of it all and kind of feeling like, okay, my season starts now, and just what has the discussion been like with Sam and stuff like that to not let it -- to make things a little bit lighter after that?
DONNA VEKIC: Yeah, but you know, I was really relieved for like a couple of hours, but then I was already focused on my next match, which is something like a couple of years ago maybe I would still be riding the high for a couple of days, and then, oh, I'm out of the tournament. So it was just like that, just happy, enjoyed it for a couple of hours and then it was straight focused to the next round, and it was the same with the second round, and I'm sure it will be the same now.
We're actually staying in a house this week, the whole time in Australia, so it's really good to be together, especially now that Melbourne is in lockdown. I'm going to be cooking from now on.
Q. Have you been asked about playing Jen yet?
DONNA VEKIC: No -- well, yeah, I think they asked me on court. I mean, who did she beat today?
DONNA VEKIC: Yeah, you know what, everyone is playing great tennis. At this point there is -- I keep saying it in the last couple of months, years, there is no easy matches on the WTA Tour. There is no easy opponents. Everyone is playing really good tennis, so I think every match you have to be ready for a battle.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports