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July 5, 2021

Aryna Sabalenka

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference

A. SABALENKA/E. Rybakina

6-3, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I'm sure you've heard it so much, that you are a player who people expected to be in a slam quarterfinal. How does it feel that you've actually made it?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Of course, I'm really happy. But this is not the final goal for me. I'm happy for now, but tomorrow is another match. I'm trying to stay focused. I will think about everything later.

Q. You played Ons next. When you played her in Paris, after that you didn't lose for 16 matches or something like that. What did that match at the time mean for you to fuel you? What do you make of the matchup on grass with her?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, that match I was really nervous. I really wanted to win that match. I wasn't staying aggressive. I was just, like, trying to put the ball back. Against her, this is something what you shouldn't do. If she has the time, then she dictate the game.

In the second set on that match, I start to playing aggressively, kind of trying to control everything on the court. And, yeah, after I lost that match, I kind of understand that I have to no matter what stay aggressive, follow my game, trying to not really overthinking.

After that match, I don't know, something clicked in my head and I was playing really good tennis, aggressive, like dominated. Yeah, that match was, like, means a lot for me.

Yeah, this time I'll try to stay aggressive and try to focus on my game instead of thinking about everything happens around.

Q. Your style of play and your opponent's style of play in the next match, what do you see as the major differences and what similarities are there?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, she has good touch, good serving game, moving well. I also have a good serve, play aggressive. Kind of trying to use my touch also. Try to be not only aggressive on the court, sometimes change the speed.

Yeah, it's going to be interesting match. It's going to be great battle. Yeah, really looking forward for this match.

Q. Does it feel any different to finally be a Grand Slam quarterfinalist? How relieved are you to make it over this hurdle?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, of course I'm really happy. But like I said before, this is not my final goal. I'm trying to be happy but at the same time be focused and be ready for the next one because it's also not easy match.

Yeah, but of course I'm really happy I finally broke this wall (smiling). Yeah, I'm in the quarterfinals. Yeah, really looking forward for the next match. Hopefully I can keep going.

Q. How proud were you that you were able to serve so well today?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, against Elena it's really important to serve well because she's serving really well. It's really tough to do something on her serve. I'm really happy in the third set, in the last two games, I was dominating. I kind of put her under pressure. I was staying aggressive. Like, I was following my game. Actually, yeah, I broke that game. Yeah, it's really important to serve well against Elena. At the same time it's important to try to return everything you can on her serve and put her under pressure.

Q. As dominant as you were in the last 12 points, did you feel the nerves at the end of that match or were you riding the wave?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Like, in the game on her serve, I wasn't nervous. I was just thinking to stay aggressive and put everything back, try to dominate.

But in the last game when I was up 30-Love I was little bit like not crying but I was almost crying because, like, on that moment I felt like everything is going well, I kind of few points from my first personal goal in the Grand Slams.

Yeah, I was almost crying, but then I - how to say - cooled down and understand this is not the final goal, there is a match tomorrow, and this is not the moment where I can cry. I kind of hold the breath for a second, then I was smiling.

Yeah, I was nervous a little bit on the last game.

Q. About the nerves, you'd been in a third set against Serena at this stage in Melbourne. Does that cross your mind at all? Does that hurdle stick in your mind? Are you blocking it out?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Not really. After that match against Serena, when the score was 4-All, I lost two games because I wasn't staying aggressive, I was just trying to put maybe sometimes like soft, put it back. She was dominating there and I lost that.

At this time I said to myself, This time you have to stay aggressive, you have to dictate. If you miss, but go for it. It's better miss it when you try to hit the ball instead of when you just put the racquet and the ball just flies away.

Yeah, this time I was trying to change something. I change it. Happy that it's work really well.

Q. You've had success on the regular tour. When it comes to the four majors, obviously they are the biggest events, you get through a few rounds. What happens for yourself? Do you start getting anxious and nervous, start maybe thinking too much? How do you feel mentally when you get to the business end of these tournaments?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, of course it's a lot of pressure. I would say the toughest matches is the first three matches. After you just keep going, trying to stay not relaxed but focused, focus on your game, don't try to overthinking. I think I did it pretty well in this match today.

For now I'm not really thinking actually, to be honest, about that this is quarterfinal. I'm just trying to focus on my game, think what I have to do tomorrow to win that match.

So we'll see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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