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January 20, 2006

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Serena, please.

Q. At Wimbledon you said that you weren't sure you should have come because you weren't quite ready. Did you come this time because you were the defending champion? Did you feel you were really quite ready?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was very ready. I was really set and very ready to play and compete, yeah.

Q. What was it that may have or may have not surprised you about her tonight?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know. I think she played -- I just made a lot of errors today. I just couldn't find my shots at all. Like everything I was trying just wasn't working. It was just one of those days.

Q. You've had such a good history here of saving match points. Did you feel that when you did that in the 12th game that you could pull it out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was just thinking about going to the tiebreak and, you know, just trying to hold on. I wasn't thinking about the past or anything like that. I don't know. I was really calm.

Q. Do you think your preparation was enough? Did you have enough preparation?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had enough preparation. I was prepared. I just didn't play my best at all today. I just was hitting balls every which direction. Just going everywhere. I didn't feel any of them.

Q. Did you find yourself affected by the rain delay at all, throwing you out of your rhythm, or did that help you because you did better in the second set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I was affected by the rain delay at all. I don't think it affected me one way or the other. Yeah, so...

Q. How do you feel Daniela played?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she played well. She played the way she plays me. I played her in the past. She always plays very solid, and she definitely has a very -- I would describe her game as a solid game.

Q. Is it bothersome the way she faces the backstop a long time before playing a point?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, no. A couple -- a couple people I play do do that. Obviously, I play really fast. I just always play so fast. It's just the way I play. But, I mean, in the beginning, once I get used to it, by the time the third game comes around I'm used to it.

Q. So didn't upset your rhythm at all tonight?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What didn't upset my rhythm?

Q. The delays.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, in the beginning it takes a little bit to get used to. But she just is a slower player. There's a few people that play slower. You just got to be able to get used to it.

Q. Do you have a favorite in this tournament now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm rooting for James Blake all the way (smiling). Hopefully he'll pull it out. I wonder if I can bet now... Thank you.

End of FastScripts….

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