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August 22, 2009

Maria Sharapova


M. SHARAPOVA/A. Kleybanova
6-2, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were down in the third set 3-1, and she was serving. I saw I think three double faults. Do you think that was the key of the match? And the other question is: I saw some unbelievable short backhand cross-courts, flat. I didn't see that much on the tour. What do you think about that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: From me or from her?

Q. From her.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: To answer your first question, I thought there were lots of momentum changes in the match, and I thought that I had an opportunity in the second set to break her and I didn't. I missed a return. So there were many swings in the match.
I don't know if I can really pinpoint, you know, what changed it. I just think I really hung in there and I stayed tough. You know, I knew that it wasn't over till the last point and we shook hands. I just kept going.
As far as those shots, you know, she hits a pretty powerful ball, and she likes to strike it when she has the time. That's something that I've just got to look out for.

Q. This is your seventh tournament back. In terms of your comeback from the shoulder surgery, can you just talk about what it is to make your first final I guess in more than a year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's really exciting, and you know, it's success by itself, you know, being able to play these matches. To go out tomorrow and play my sixth match is really an accomplishment. Obviously coming back for any athlete after not playing for a while is always tough, and you're getting used to so many things, especially when you had an injury.
So I'm really grateful that I have a chance to be in another final in my career, and with the way I've also been able, you know, to learn from every tournament and with every match, it's almost like a different, you know, step in my career.

Q. That was a pretty gritty effort from Kleybanova. I think she played nearly 6 hours of tennis in the last 24 hours or something. Were you expecting her to wear down a little bit? Were you surprised that she just kept coming at you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think at this stage of the tournament, I don't think anyone's road is necessarily easy. It's a semifinal of a tournament, and you've got to expect her, no matter who it is, no matter what their ranking is, no matter what game they're playing, you've got to expect their best tennis and you have to expect them to go out and have nothing to lose.
She beat a top player yesterday and that was a good win, so she's coming off, you know, a confidence booster, so you know, she's going to go into the match, and you know, she's going to play her heart out.

Q. Looking ahead to tomorrow, you've obviously seen Elena a lot of times in your career. What do you feel you specifically have to look out for in the final tomorrow against her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: She's a grinder. She makes you hit a lot of balls. You've really got to be steady with her and take your opportunities when you get them, just like against any player, but most importantly go out there, and you know, execute what your plan is.

Q. Can you tell me where you got your competitive nature and spirit? I have never read anything. I know you have no siblings and your parents, doesn't sound like they were involved in sports. You are the most tenacious player I've ever witnessed.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Thank you. That's really nice.
I don't know. I've always liked competing, whether it was eating a bowl of pasta faster than my cousin or just little things. I just always love competition, and I think also growing up I didn't necessarily get everything from everybody.
My family was a great example of, you know, of a mom and dad that worked for everything that they have today, and they are an example in my life. They were very hard workers. You know, growing up with them, I realized how important it is to have that, to have that nature around and to have them as my support, and you know, they -- I think we've worked for many things in our life, and you know, it takes a lot of work to earn something in life, whether it's little or big, whether it's a flower or money or whatever it is.
You really learn to appreciate those things. That's something that I think I've gotten from my parents.

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