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March 4, 2021

Jessica Pegula

Doha, Qatar

Press Conference

J. PEGULA/Ka. Pliskova

6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. This must be a confidence builder for you. This is your second top-10 win of the season. You have not dropped a set coming out of qualifying. How does it all feel? How are you handling the moment and the week?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, definitely a confidence builder. I had a really tough match my second-round quallies against Potapova, and honestly, I probably should have lost.

I think after that match I decided to just use that confidence of scraping out that match to, you know, play really aggressive and step in and just go for my shots.

So I actually think that match, second-round quallies, really helped me to this point and why I'm playing pretty well right now.

I'm just happy that I scraped out some matches. Then today it kind of felt like everything was kind of going my way, so I'll...yeah.

Q. Going back, the last setback was I believe your quarterfinal match against Jen Brady at Melbourne. Did you have some positive takeaways from that that you have been able to build upon since then?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, of course. I took a lot from that match. I definitely was a little, not nervous, but I guess anxious coming here because you come off such a big quarterfinal, first quarterfinal, a lot of big wins, and then I'm in qualifying here and I have to win three matches.

So it definitely was different, but that's what I love about it. It's so week to week and there is a different challenge every week. I definitely took a lot from losing to Jen but at the same time tried to not like look too much into it. It was a good match. She played really well. It was her day, not mine. I just tried to take away the positives and move forward.

Q. Momentum seems to be a key factor for you so far in 2021. You seem to be carrying your form at the start of the year.

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I would definitely say my fitness, staying healthy, and then mentally I think staying healthy has really helped me mentally knowing that I feel good pretty much every match, knowing that I don't have to be too concerned about injuries or anything like that.

So I think that has definitely been the biggest factor, you know, to start the year.

Q. I suppose when you're on such a good run of form, is it important to keep playing tournaments on a regular sort of consistent basis obviously when you're on a bit of a hot streak at the moment?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, you mean like playing more tournaments or...

Q. Yeah, playing tournaments within a shorter period of time, given your sort of form that you're on.

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I mean, I think I definitely want to take advantage of this time because I'm playing really well. So, yeah, especially because of the pandemic, you know, we don't really know -- sometimes week to week we're not sure. So that's definitely something.

I think as well with that I have tried to make the most out of each week, because I kind of know that the year, there is a lot of uncertainty with that. So, yeah, I definitely want to play as much as I can right now as long as I'm feeling healthy mentally and physically.

Q. Looking for today's match in particular, you win in straight sets. Obviously for Karolina she had finished a match like 16 hours ago, something like that. Did you notice anything in her physically from the start? How did that factor into your game plan in today's match?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I have never played her before, so I don't really know. I feel like she's pretty even the whole time. To me, I didn't really notice anything. Of course I'm sure that was a factor today. But also, you know, I played six straight matches, and that was a factor for me.

So I think we're all just trying to, you know, handle our situations the best we can. I didn't notice anything outright. Maybe there was, maybe there wasn't, if I was watching the match back. I think I just tried to focus on my game and to be aggressive and to serve smart and then do what I could on my return games.

Q. For you, and you mentioned this a little bit earlier, I think you're now 28-12 or maybe 29-12 since the start of last season, and it's another quarterfinal for you that you reach here this week or I suppose a semifinal now for you. What is clicking so well in your game over the past year? What are the things you are doing to now make this big leap approaching the top 30 of the rankings?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, it's weird because I have definitely had different times of the season where now I think now I'm playing really aggressive. Australia and here I have been playing really aggressive, whereas last year at the US Open I definitely wasn't playing as aggressive.

I actually wasn't really feeling that confident in my game, but I was figuring out ways to win. I think because I'm moving so much better that I was relying a lot on my movement and my defense.

So I think now I'm almost kind of balancing both of those aspects of my game, whereas before I wasn't really a good mover, like my footwork wasn't really that great.

So it's pretty cool to see how much better I have gotten at that, and now I can add that into my game. So I think right now I'm just kind of balancing both of them really well and definitely serving better.

Q. In terms of the recovery process, because now you have made deep runs into the week at multiple events over these past six months, do you feel you've gotten better at recovering match to match? And just physically what will you do to prepare yourself for whomever you play in the semifinal?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I think one thing that's definitely helped, now that you mention that, is definitely my routines with prepping and recovering.

Definitely I'm doing a lot more -- it's not even that it's that much, but I think it's just keeping that routine match to match I think helps me mentally prepare day to day and week to week throughout the tournaments. And even when I'm home, just the recovery is definitely a lot more.

Whether it's doing something or not, I think mentally it's just really important because you're doing everything that you can before you step out on the court, and there is a lot of uncontrollables sometimes on the court. Mentally that's really helped. Yeah, just taking care of the body all the time and it's paying off.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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