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February 25, 2021

Coco Gauff

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Press Conference

C. GAUFF/S. Rogers

2-6, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you just talk through the match from your perspective, how did you see things and what kind of got you into the sticky situations that you found yourself in and what were you able to do to pull yourself out?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, in the first set she came out swinging and I didn't -- I couldn't really play it safe because she was punishing me for hitting the ball short, so that set just went by super quickly.

I kind of went down also in the second set and I just kept fighting for every point, really. I knew I needed to be aggressive if I wanted to win and I think I kind of stepped up in the moments where I needed to.

Q. How did you find just playing Shelby and obviously she's playing incredibly well since the restart of the season, how did you find her ball and what were you able to do to kind of solve the problem that she was presenting for you?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, she definitely hits the ball pretty fast and she has a really good forehand and backhand really. So you can't really pick on one side with her, she's kind of pretty evened out. She has a good serve.

So really I just, when I got my opportunity, I just stepped in and took it and I started playing forward and moving forward more and also like playing a little bit higher and heavier when I was on the defense.

Q. In terms of your ability to come back, obviously we have seen this from you before, but what were you telling yourself in terms of when you say, okay, I need to fight for every point, like how does that translate in your game? How different do you end up playing, do you think?

COCO GAUFF: I think I do pretty well under pressure. There's going to be matches where I always don't get it when I need to and there's going to be matches where I'm not able to come back, but I think under pressure I think I play pretty well and make the right decisions. I probably play better under pressure than I do in the lead sometimes.

Q. You're not the only one. Many come from behind. It's a way to go. But coming into Adelaide, how were you feeling? Because you've had these really good very strong wins going into the semifinals, which is a great result at a 500, what was your mindset coming into the tournament?

COCO GAUFF: Really, I had to go through quallies, so it's all about getting matches in and just trying my best. Australia ended a little bit shorter than I would like, but I was just kind of out here and just trying my hardest every match. I haven't played my best fully the whole match, in a lot of matches this week, hence the three-setters. But it's okay, it just gives me more experience on the court.

Q. A lot of players will say that winning when they don't have their A game actually impacts the confidence even more than when you're out there zoning. Is that kind of what you're feeling right now?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, definitely. When you're able to win and you're not playing your best I think that definitely adds to your confidence. Especially, I mean, very few players are able to play seven matches fully good the whole time, and if they do it's like a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity. There's always one match where it's going to be pretty tight. Djokovic, I mean like in his Australian Open win against Fritz and against Frances he dropped a set against Frances and two sets against Fritz, so you're not always going to play your best. But I think it's those wins that you don't play your best and win are the most important.

Q. Are you feeling that pressure start to release a little bit in terms of -- I think it was Sabalenka who was saying awhile back that when she stepped on court, when she was younger, she thought she had to zone, she had to play her best to beat anybody. Now, obviously, she feels a little bit different. Are you feeling that pressure dissipate as well, that you don't have to go out there and play your best, necessarily?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I definitely do. I feel like before, I mean, you're going on tour you're not really sure what the level -- I probably overplayed some balls, sometimes I overplay the points and over think and sometimes it's just putting the ball on court and hitting the targets instead of trying to finish appoint in three shots, maybe it's sometimes better to play the long game.

Especially now, at least with me, I would say I'm pretty physically fit, so I know I physically I can outlast some of the other players on tour, and also mentally I'm pretty strong, so I think playing the longer points definitely helps and it's to my advantage.

Q. What are your thoughts about making the semifinals? What does it mean to you?

COCO GAUFF: Super excited, definitely a boost in my confidence in my first semi since or, actually, no, Lexington I did a semi, but my first semi in a Premier, so that's pretty cool.

Q. You could play either Bencic or Storm Sanders. Can you just talk about the challenges of playing each and how familiar you are with each opponent?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean Bencic I'm pretty familiar, I mean she's been on high in the rankings for a long time and I know she's an aggressive player and she hits big shots.

Storm, I've seen her recently, like I obviously have seen her in the past, but for sure more recently in singles in this tournament and also a little bit in Australia. I mean, she's had some good wins against Yulia and, I mean, tonight, who knows how well she will do. But she also played my doubles partner, Katie, in the qualifying, so I'll probably get some -- if she, if I end up playing her, I'll get some pointers from her.

But they both have very strong games and I'm excited to see who wins and I'm just ready to play tomorrow.

Q. Making the semis of a Premier, do you, this early in the season, how much does that mean to you in terms of just maybe giving you confidence or making you feel like you're in the right way, that the pre-season worked out, as opposed to if you had gone home right after Melbourne?

COCO GAUFF: Definitely I think playing was the right decision, even though I had to go through quallies, I think it was the right decision to play and at the end of the day I need more matches under my belt. I'm still new and need a lot more experience and it definitely plays a role.

I didn't realize how much a role experience plays until I started playing some players who are a lot older than me and they know what to do, even when it comes to the little mind games and all that, they know what to do in those moments. So I'm just learning and picking up a few tricks and as I go.

Q. Do you remember when that started, you started to realize that a little bit more, that there was an experience gap that you were trying to chase?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I feel like definitely like after Wimbledon just because people were more familiar with my game. I feel like Wimbledon I was new so there wasn't really a "scout report" against me. Whereas, now I notice players are starting to listen to scout report, which, I mean, they end up changing up in the match because sometimes it doesn't work and sometimes it does. But that's something that I have definitely have stepped up and watched a lot more film than I normally would when I was in juniors. In juniors I don't recall -- juniors you didn't really watch any film, you just asked a couple players how the person plays, they tell you and you just go out there on court.

But now the game, especially with the technology, everybody has access to stats and everything, so it's definitely a lot more competitive where it comes to the strategy side than I feel like than it used to be back in the times.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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