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January 15, 2009

Dinara Safina


D. SAFINA/A. Sugiyama
6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So how hot did it feel out there today?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I don't know when it was worse, yesterday or today. I don't know, it was pretty hot even I was warming up before the match outside of the court. Like I was just going to do a jog, you know.
But I didn't even have to do it because it was so hot, the air. I was just standing there, and I was like, I cannot move. It makes no sense because you're already so hot.

Q. I noticed you seemed pretty determined to try and wrap it up in the second set. Is that because you didn't want to play another set in that heat?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, yeah. I don't know, just it will be tough to play, especially be being 3-1 up with a break and then to play a little bit stupid game and then to lose the set with having it in my hands.
So I'm happy that at 5-4 I played a solid game, and then I played pretty solid tiebreak.

Q. How does it affect you on the court, the heat? Do you find that you don't have a lot of energy?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, as I always say, you know, it's not an excuse, you know, because it's same hot for her and for me.
So that's why, you know, you go on the court and you see who is stronger this day. It counts everything: Heat, hot, wind. So if you are ready, you know, you are competing against her, so it's same conditions.

Q. You didn't have any problem with the freshness after yesterday's game or anything like that? Obviously Ai had a day off yesterday, so she was coming in pretty fresh.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, so I won, so I guess it was better for me.

Q. Did you see Serena's match last night?
DINARA SAFINA: No, it was not on TV.

Q. She saved three match points. They mentioned last night that she's won eight matches where she's come match point down. Is she the toughest player on the tour to beat?
DINARA SAFINA: She and the other five of them in the top 10, or all top 10, you know. I mean, all of them are tough to beat, you know, because -- doesn't matter who you play. I don't know.

Q. Does Serena have something different from the others?
DINARA SAFINA: Well I guess because -- I don't know. As I think I read in the press she said she was lucky. It went her way yesterday, so I don't know. Maybe next week it will go Wozniacki way.
God knows. She won this match. I don't know, maybe she was less experienced, Wozniacki. I didn't watch, so it's tough for me to say what happened.

Q. Do you care which player you play in the final?
DINARA SAFINA: No. They're both great players, you know. It will be interesting to play, because I just played them last tournament of the year in Doha. So it's going to be a good challenge, especially before the Grand Slam, you know, to play somebody who's in the best shape.
Dementieva, she is playing great. Serena, she is also fit. So it's going to be a good challenge to see where you are and what you need for the Melbourne.

Q. This is your most successful trip to Australia already I think, yes?
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah. You see, I'm improving.

Q. Does it give you a lot of confidence for next week that you've made the final here?
DINARA SAFINA: Of course, you know, because I still feel there is so much room inside of me that I still can play better. Even like this, you know, without -- I would say without playing my 100% I still reached the final, so I think that's pretty good.
You know, it just shows that I'm good enough even maybe to play 50% and still reaching the finals.

Q. I mean, that's a characteristic of the very best players, is that they can win when they're not playing their best.

Q. Yes?
DINARA SAFINA: Yes, I think it is. That makes a difference, you know. I think I did it pretty well.

Q. Were you able to do that last year, do you think?
DINARA SAFINA: I don't think so. I would go nuts on the court if I would -- something would go wrong. I would go just down on myself and I would just get down on everything.
Now I accept, okay, I'm not playing my 100%. I'm playing 50%, but still I'm a set up. So what? Just dealing with the conditions that I have today and just trying to get the best out of it.

Q. Are you feeling mentally better prepared going into this Australian Open than you have in the past?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, yeah, because last year I had very tough beginning. I lost Gold Coast I think having five match points. Then I came here and I had also a set and 3-1, 5-3, everything in my hand, and I lost this match.
It's tough to come to the big tournaments, you know, without, you know -- you think why it doesn't go your way, and then especially like I played terrible match in Melbourne, so I was so down.
But now this year is different, and I'm more experienced. I just know how to deal better with these situations.

Q. So you mental approach is better now in dealing with these close situations?
DINARA SAFINA: I think that's why I made this kind of jump, you know, from being 20 in the world to No. 3. Without this, I would still be down there.

Q. How do you like having your coach come on court during matches? Do you like this new thing?
DINARA SAFINA: If I would not like it he would not come, so...
No, it's good. You know, he comes and he tells me -- like let's say I had some problems and he tells me, Okay, so do some other things and focus on other things. So it helps, you know.
Because sometimes you play the match and you don't see it -- I think it's one way and then he comes in and he tells me like I'm completely playing the wrong way. That's it's just, Okay, like so what should I do to get better?
So I think it's good for us. It's good that somebody from the outside can else help us.

Q. You haven't had him on the court every match, have you?
DINARA SAFINA: Every match.

Q. You have?

Q. What did he say to you today?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, he said -- because I felt like something was wrong. He said, No, it's not as bad. Just don't go away from the baseline. That's basically the things that he's trying to -- that I'm staying more aggressive.

Q. Because you were stepping back a little bit?
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah. So he's the one who is trying to tell me, Go back to Sydney. Don't run outside of Sydney.

Q. Obviously you don't know who your opponent is going to be, but how did you see your game matching up with both of those girls?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, you cannot really play tactically with them. You just have to go out there and hit the ball, you know. When you are playing against best players there is no tactic. You just go out there and play your game. She'll play her game and I will play my game, and let's see who will be stronger that day.

Q. So you don't reckon you'll change your game depending on who you're playing?
DINARA SAFINA: When you play against top 10 player, how you can change when they have no weakness? It's just who hits the ball harder, who hits closer to the lines and who serves, I don't know, better.
You just, it's just who is going to do better tomorrow.

Q. You were quite unhappy after the match yesterday. Do you feel like you improved today?
DINARA SAFINA: I think today was better than yesterday. In some things I improved. I served much better today, especially in the crucial moments. Especially in the tiebreak I served pretty good, so I think it's one step better than yesterday.

Q. How are you feeling physically after two pretty tough days out in the heat? Feeling all right?
DINARA SAFINA: I feeling okay. Tomorrow we play night session, so it's not going to be as hot. I think in Melbourne we don't play with these kind of conditions. If it comes to a certain temperature we don't play, so I guess it's good preparation.

Q. And what will you do to recover from the match? Will you have any ice bath, or...
DINARA SAFINA: I'll have ice massage now and sleep. I'm so sleepy now. I'm talking and I'm already like, oh.

End of FastScripts

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