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March 18, 2009

Victoria Azarenka


6-7, 6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed pretty emotional after that victory?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Um, yeah, I mean, it's my first semifinal of such a big tournament, and I was just very happy, because it was a tough match.
I was almost losing it, and I pulled it off, so I was just very happy because I was fighting from the first to the last moment.

Q. Next up is your doubles partner. How are you going to head into that match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, right now I'm actually not thinking about that. I'm only thinking about tomorrow's doubles. We're going to have to play together, and hopefully we'll win. Next match is going to be good between us, too.

Q. What was the difference between this match and LA and Montreal, and I think it was Berlin last year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, Berlin it was -- I mean, all of these matches were so different. I cannot even compare them to each other. Berlin I was a little bit tired, and Dinara was just playing unbelievable. I couldn't do much.
LA, I was just not even ready for that tournament, and she was playing again her best tennis. I had no chances there.
And then Montreal, it was three sets. First set she killed me 6-0, and I won. The third set was a just little bit unlucky for me because I did some mistakes on the big points.
But today I was just playing more aggressive. I improved my game and improved my movement, and I think I was putting much more pressure on her. I was just believing in myself that I can win and I have to fight no matter what.

Q. Seemed like you didn't get down on yourself after she made comebacks and she'd come back at you and you just kept going.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, the image I had in my head there was actually Nadal, the way he plays all the time. No matter what, he fights. You can see he's -- I think his mentality, for me, it the best mentality anybody ever have.
So I was just trying to fight as good as him, and it was pretty good for me.

Q. You have been playing really well throughout this tournament, and in Australia you almost beat Serena. Do you think that there has been a certain point that you got really confident and you started playing well, very well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I wouldn't say at the beginning of the tournament I was playing well, because my first match wasn't a very good match. I also played three sets. But throughout the tournament I kept playing more comfortable, move confident.
And as I said, for me, it's not a particular match that made me more confident. It's just that I go out on the court knowing that I can do well, and I just have to believe in myself and fight hard.

Q. There's a lot of sort of girls that are bunched together that are close in age, Pavlyuchenkova, yourself, Wozniacki, the Radwanskas, Cornet. Do you know those girls? How long have you known them, from your junior days?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I know them from the junior days, and I think it's great that all those girls came to the top. You could see that even in juniors we had good players to player against.
I mean, Caroline has been doing well. Radwanska has been doing very food, too. Hopefully she has a good match tomorrow. Hope she wins. Pavlyuchenkova is the same thing. She beat Jankovic. She's confident. Like we have nothing to lose. We just play every match, and I think that's why -- I mean, a lot of these girls are dangerous.

Q. Is there one of those girls that was a rivalry in the juniors that you played a lot?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Actually, I never played Radwanska or Wozniacki in the juniors. And Cornet, I never played. Pavlyuchenkova, I never played.
The only player I ever played in the juniors was Cibulkova.

Q. Do you think you're a little bit fearless, all of you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, definitely. For me, I mean, I don't think that anybody should be -- should have any fear, because we're young. We play good, have good results. Don't have anything to lose.
So for me, it's just -- I'm just glad all those girls are here, because it makes a good competition for me.

Q. Does the fact that the tour doesn't have one dominant player kind of add to that mentality as well, that you have nothing to lose?

Q. Because the tour doesn't have just one dominant player, such as Justine Henin when she was dominating. Does that make you feel that you have nothing to lose and that the playing field is equal?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. When even Henin was -- she was for a year dominating everything, but still, there were some players that -- like Sharapova or Serena and Venus, they were beating her.
So for me, it's just, I don't know. I don't think that, because there is no one player who's winning everything, makes any difference.

Q. Players talk a lot about improving. How much would you say month to month now, given that you're still young, say, compared to last year, are you a much better player? Do you feel that when you go out on the court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I am. I think I'm moving much better, and that's what -- you know, that physically that I'm much stronger. That helps me mentally to know that I can play as long as I want, and as long as I have to play.
So that's a big part that I improved also, and I've been working very hard on my tennis game throughout the preseason. I think everything that I did in the preseason worked out very good for me now, and I'm sure that I have still a lot of room to improve. I just want to keep going the same way.

Q. A lot of women, if they made their first semifinal, they would be satisfied. Do you feel like you can go further? Can you win this tournament? Do you have that kind of self-belief here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, I never think of too far. I'm only going to think about my next match. I have a tough opponent that I have to beat. Of course I'm happy with the result, but I'm still in the tournament. I still want to keep going.
So for me, it's just the next match. I'm not thinking about if I'm going to be in the final or I'm going to win the tournament. That's not my thinking.

Q. Have you surprised yourself at all that even coming out of juniors - in juniors you were almost a dominant player, but now you're pretty much in the top 10, you know reaching the semifinals here - is that fast for you, or do you say to yourself, you know, what? I'm that good.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, I never say to myself that I'm that good, because I'm so -- I'm expecting so much for myself, much more. I'm always like that. Even though I do good, I want to do better.
So for me, I would never say that, you know, I'm an unbelievable player. Yes, I'm doing good results now. But, you know, as long as I'm doing good results, I'm happy, because it's always the way up and the way down. So you just don't have to think about it, you're going to be always on top.

Q. But you expect a lot out of yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, expect is probably not the right word to say. I don't know exactly how to say that word in English. But it's more that -- I don't know how to say it. I'm sorry. My coach always tell me, but I forgot. (laughter.)
He's like, Don't be so hard on yourself.

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