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November 21, 1997

Irina Sprilea


Q. What do you expect from the match tomorrow?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I played her on clay, I think, at the French Open and she was attacking me even there a lot when she came at the net a lot. So I expect her to come to the net and try and make pressure on my backhand, which everybody thinks is the weakest shot I had. I'll see tomorrow how I can mix it up, see how I can make her in defense a little bit.

Q. Do you have any special tactic?

IRINA SPIRLEA: At this time, no.

Q. What is your fascination with drop shots? You seem to always go back to that as a strategy? You have like some kind of love for them, like a passion?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I think I like to make drop shots because it makes me kind of happy when I can have the touch for the ball. So everybody is expecting you to hit hard, especially with my forehand, so sometimes it seems like I don't care, but I just make it. I feel well when I make it.

Q. Is that a little bit of Ilea Nastase?

IRINA SPIRLEA: It's not that he's my father.

Q. He isn't?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I don't know how he was playing, actually I'm seeing him just once.

Q. He used to do a lot of drop shots? He was a touch player, too?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I like to make drop shots.

Q. You were making a lot of them tonight?

IRINA SPIRLEA: Not so many as I would like to.

Q. More than against venous? What was going on in your mind at the match points?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I just wanted to return the first ball, not to miss the return. I would have been pretty upset if I was missing the return on the match point. And then I think she was a little bit on the back of the court, she wasn't so aggressive on the ball. So I just took the chance and played the point. I wasn't too scared -- I don't know why, I was pretty cool at the match point.

Q. What shot was working best for you, do you think?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I think my forehand, maybe my serve, even if sometimes I was having ups and down, for some reason I was missing eight balls in a row and then I was coming back. I think we both have ups and downs in the match.

Q. I noticed when she had the match point you were hitting a forehand down the line. You seem to be very confident with that?

IRINA SPIRLEA: Well, as I said, I was not shaking, so sometimes you have more tension on you, sometimes you feel okay, you just play the point. So I was in that mood that -- that's okay, I hit the shot.

Q. You have very beautiful technique and beautiful ground strokes, what is the area of your game that needs to be shored up?

IRINA SPIRLEA: To improve?

Q. Yes, that you really try to consciously work on in your game?

IRINA SPIRLEA: Maybe to move better on the court and cut a little bit more the court, so if I move well I can do it.

Q. What about coming to the net a little more, when you do come to the net you have a good volley?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I start playing on clay, so it's kind of tough to change it. I try to work on it, but it's not coming as I would like to. But I'll see, I'll try to work on it.

Q. The potential is definitely there?


Q. How do you see the semifinal?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I said before I expect her to attack me on the backhand and make pressure, come at the net. Now it's just that I finished my match so I'll have time to think about it, and try and do different things, which maybe would make her a little bit difficult.

Q. What's your best advantage over her?

IRINA SPIRLEA: What's my best?

Q. Advantage over her?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I think I have to serve well and return well. So then if the point is going on I can handle it, but the first point I have to serve and return well.

Q. How big a win is this for you? You've come to the U.S., there was an enormous amount of crowd support for Mary, how big is this for you?

IRINA SPIRLEA: Actually I'm doing pretty well in New York, I don't know why. But winning, you know, with three match points down it gives you a lot of confidence, so I'm pretty confident with myself and I'm happy about the year I have and I just play my best tennis. I don't see a reason why I cannot play well.

End of FastScripts....

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