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July 3, 2006

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Maria Sharapova. We'll take questions.

Q. Did you feel sometimes in danger or you were always very, very extra confident?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I just didn't feel like I was playing my best tennis. In the end, it all came down to how much I fought. Not to -- it wasn't really about how good or bad I played, or how good she played, because she played extremely well. You know, I just fought deep and, you know...

Q. Did you expect she could play so well?

Q. Where you a bit surprised?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. You know, I can never underestimate my opponent. Going into the fourth round, I haven't played her in a while, but I did have a tough match against here a few years ago. I knew that it wasn't going to be easy. She's beaten some top players. She's had experience. It was just up to me to do my job.

Q. Your level went up a lot from the second to the third set. What were you thinking during the break between sets?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not too much. I had my opportunities in the second. I had a point for 3-All in the second. I let that go. Then I had other opportunities that I didn't take. You know, I was missing a lot of approach shots. She was giving me a lot of those short, low balls. I was missing a lot of those.
I think in the third set, you know, I finally, finally hit a few. Her second serve came in. I think that put pressure on her because the game I broke, she didn't make a lot of her serves. Then she went for a dropshot, which she hadn't done in a whole set. So, you know, I think I put a lot of pressure on her and hung on because she came up with good shots, even when I had a set point in that whole game, she played a very solid game.

Q. When you were 5-All, she had the chance to go 6-5, breakpoint on your serve.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There were a lot of breakpoints today.

Q. Do you think that was the most difficult moment? If you had lost the first set, would have been more difficult? Do you remember more or less that moment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I don't remember that particular moment. But I do remember, though, we had a lot of -- we both had a lot of chances in the first set. Seemed like we were both getting each other's serves back. The points were longer. It wasn't just the big server, winner or miss.
Yeah, I mean, I think both of us did a good job on the breakpoints.

Q. You're favorite for the title just about. How much better are you going to have to play?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Definitely I'll have to step it up for my next match. You know, like I said, I don't think I played my best tennis. You can't come out every single day and play your best tennis. At the end of the day, I came out with a win. You know, hopefully I'll improve tomorrow.

Q. With 10 double-faults in your match, is that more or less usual or more than your average?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's definitely more than my average. But, uhm, you know, maybe I felt like I had to go for a little bit more because she was really returning well. Maybe that had something to do with it.
The wind was swirling out there, as well. I felt like on one side I served terribly, and on the other side I served pretty well. It was a bit strange.

Q. Can you give us an idea of what effect the heat made out on the court. It's pretty open courts.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was very hot, humid. But, you know, if it's hot for me, it's hot for her. I mean, it's been pretty warm the last couple of days here. So, kind of expected it.
But it is unusual to wake up every single morning for, I don't know, the past seven or eight days and see sunshine.

Q. It seems like sometimes you're following the ball in, then other times you're --
MARIA SHARAPOVA: -- hesitating (smiling).

Q. Hesitating, and then going back a little, hesitating and waiting. Do you think that's part of the process of learning to come forward, it will come with experience?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, today I think I hesitated because I think I made a few errors. You know, I think I made three or four errors on pretty big points where I missed the short ball and I tried to come in. Maybe I was rushing it a little bit too much.
After that, I began hesitating, and she took advantage. She got a lot of balls back. She has a great advantage, she can run a lot, is physically very strong. Definitely hesitated a little bit.

Q. When you hit the low forehand volley, a couple you hit in the third set cross-court, you seemed happy. Does all the hesitation go away, and you think that you can really do this, get up there and win points?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that was definitely one of my mentalities in the third set, trying to step in, actually going in. If she hits a good shot, she comes up with a winner on the dead run, that's just too good. But I was finally doing that. I made a few good, tough volleys, especially in the last game.

Q. Do you analyze your matches with your dad and Michael and talk about it afterwards or look ahead to the next match? Will you talk about this match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In the following hour, yeah, you do. You see what your mistakes are, you talk about a few things here and there. But, uhm, you have to move on of course. I think I play tomorrow, so there's not much time to analyze on the previous match.

Q. What was the strongest shot of Flavia and what were her weakest, from your point of view?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think she has a huge weapon. She's just a solid, solid player. I mean, I think one of her best shots is her return. You know, she made me hit a lot of balls, whether I didn't serve smart enough or whether she was just too good. I did feel she was returning well today.
I don't know. I mean, it really came down to just a few points in the third set, you know.

Q. There's obviously a lot of effort out there. You seemed to be making a lot of noise towards the end of the match, maybe more than usual. Do you worry about the effect it has on your opponent?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I just worry about myself.

Q. How tough a fight is Dementieva going to be?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's going to be really tough. I'm sure both of us want to be in the semifinals. I've always had really tough matches against her. She's physically very fit and strong, gets a lot of balls back. Just have to be ready for another big fight.

Q. Talking about your personal music likings, I heard you like Nelly Furtado. Anybody else?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I have a lot -- I love Damien Rice, The Fray. Sia is the new one I've been listening to. Kanye West.

End of FastScripts...

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