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August 9, 2010
A. IVANOVIC/V. Azarenka
2-6, 7-6, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Does did feel like you played two different matches tonight, because it looked like I watched two different matches?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it did feel a little bit, and my coach said it was three different matches out there. I don't know what he was referring to, but definitely felt like it.
She was dominating a lot in the first set. Even though like I was missing a lot and it sort of felt like I was a little bit out of it, I still was very aware of what was happening. I realized that she was serving really well, and that she struggled once I actually got the rally going and threw some high ones and change the rhythm a little bit.
So I tried to focus on that and tried to force less my serve and just try to make it and get rally going. Even though was 5-3 down in the second set, I just tried to keep my head down and work hard for each point, and it paid off and it feels really good.
Q. What was your strategy going into this match?
ANA IVANOVIC: I played her earlier this year in Rome. It was on the clay, so it was a lot different. But I just knew that if I managed to return well, her serve will eventually break down. That's what happened today. That kind of felt really good.
I just had to also play it by ear and follow my game, so what I've been working on and just try to be aggressive. I realized tonight her forehand was a little bit weaker side, so I tried to play more on it.
So, yeah, basically just game plan was to go out there and do like I practice, like I do it in the practice.
Q. You talk about the forehand being the weaker side, and yours seemed to be doing really well tonight. You were getting a lot of winners off of it. Can you talk about what was working well with your forehand tonight? Have you been practicing it more?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think my footwork was a lot better so I was in a better position to hit it. Forehand is always my stronger side, so it really felt good that it was working at times. I thought I was really returning well at some point in the second set and put a lot pressure on her serves, and I tried to run it around tried to dominate.
But my backhand was very also solid today, and that's something that I been working on a lot. So I was very pleased to see that as well.
Q. Looked like in the second set you made a key tactical adjustment in second returns. You moved into the court a little bit more so you could take the return early. The stats really bear that out where you just started dominating on the second return points won. Do you think that was key to helping you win the match?
ANA IVANOVIC: Definitely that was the key. That also caused her serve to break down a little bit. Because if I'm not mistaken, in the first set she had about 80% first serves, and then it dropped.
ANA IVANOVIC: Exactly. And then it dropped in second and third set. So I think that was huge. That kind of shifted the match a little bit.
Also once we got rally going, I just felt I could keep up rallies with her, which was good feeling. Because in the first set I felt I was on the ball, but I was a little bit rushing. I started to slow a little bit things down and give more spin and give more time.
Q. What made you are decide to make that change? You were down a set and a break. You were close to getting out of the tournament.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, well, actually, I tried to change it beginning of the second set, because I realized it. And then I played a weak first game and managed to break her back. It was kind of always, you know, trying to play catch up.
Sort of towards the end of the second set I felt the timing was a lot better and I felt few things starting to click. I just tried to stay positive.
Honestly speaking, crowd helps helped me so much. They were a lot behind me. It was so great to see a lot of young kids and so on, and it kind of got my pumped. (Laughing.)
Q. I saw in practice you were working on your backhand slice. Were you thinking of using that more in the match?
ANA IVANOVIC: I was just thinking of mixing up a lot. Like I was saying, throw up a few high ones and mix it up with slice. I didn't use it as much today. It's really kind of shot you don't use as much in a match.
But it's definitely good to have it in case you need it. My coach thought it would be good to hit a few just in case I need to mix up.
Q. Is this the biggest win you've had in a long time?
ANA IVANOVIC: Since Rome it is definitely. Rome was a great week for me. This victory means a lot. Not only as it's against a really good player, you know, she just came off a win, but also the way match was progressing, you know, the last few weeks I was losing matches like this.
It was really disappointing, because I been putting so much hard work in and it was not really paying off and it was very, very hard.
It's good seeing that hanging in there gives the good results, so I'm most pleased about that.
Q. How do you get back into a match when you're going down, you're down a set and a break, three of the last six tournaments you've lost the first round. It would be easy to think, Here I go again. How did you change that around? What did you tell yourself to change the momentum of the match?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's tough. I also think I was a little bit unlucky with the draw. Definitely if you're not seeded you get a little bit unlucky. I thought last few tournaments it was really rough.
But, you know, I just tried to stay focused to be in the match actually. Like I said, I been practicing well hard and working a lot on my fitness, which after all it gives you confidence in the match, that you can take actually stay in the rally and make shots in important moments like did I to break her in 5-4. I hit a good return.
So those are all moments that start to click, and it kind of gives you momentum. Who knows what happens in the third set, but I just felt I made a big change in that second.
Q. How would you rate your defense today?
ANA IVANOVIC: It was really good. I had some really good high balls. I actually tried to stay aggressive, because she likes to dominate. Once you take that away from her she struggles and feels like she's on the back foot.
So I tried to -- when I had to defend, I tried to put some high so I can actually transfer that and become offensive again.
Q. You play Yaroslava Shvedova next round, another tough opponent. How did you keep this going into the next round and beyond?
ANA IVANOVIC: Really, I guess I just have to see. Like in Stanford, I had a great win against Alisa Kleybanova, and then I got too excited and set the bar too high for myself.
Shvedova, she's great opponent, so it's gonna be a tough match. I just have to try to have the same mindset like I did in this match and just do what I did in practice. I been practicing really well and trying to step in on a lot of shots, which is my game, and I didn't apply that much.
So just basically try to work on these things. You know, whatever happens, I just feel like I'm making a progress, which feels good.
Q. You talk about the mental aspect of your game. Is that an issue that you've had all year? You've been kind of streaky with winning a semifinal in January, a shoulder injury, but then you were out in the first or second round for a couple months. Then you got the semifinal in Rome, and you went back to being out in the first round. Is that a mental thing or are you physically okay?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think it's a mix of both, you know. I had a great week in Rome, and then I kind of -- I actually, after Madrid I was little bit sick, so I didn't really work as much as I had. It's all connected. Like you have to work hard to gain a confidence, and I haven't been working as hard in those months after Rome for various reasons.
So I just felt like when it was tough moment in the match, I felt, Maybe I'm not ready for this. Even though I might have been, I just didn't have confidence. So now I put a lot of hard work and I changed structure a little bit. That kind of feels good. So in the tough matches you know you can pull through and you have that confidence to fall back on.
Q. What goals have you set for the end of the year? Is there a specific ranking point you want to get to?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's very tough to talk about that, because I really don't know what to expect. Like I said, I've been playing so great in the practice, and I have to translate that into matches. I think I can do that.
But then again, I get overexcited and I don't play as well and I get down. It's kind of like a circle still. I have to snap out of it in a way. But it's very hard to talk about it.
Obviously I would love to win a tournament. That would feel really good. But just to go out there and try to basically enjoy and get few more matches under my belt, few more victories. It would be good.
Q. You called the trainer out today. What was wrong with your foot?
ANA IVANOVIC: Just my left foot started to get so tight, my soles, so I think it was just a little bit of muscle tightness.
Q. You talk about getting confidence by playing more matches, and one way to do that would seem to be to play smaller tournaments where you might be able to win more easily and get more matches. The way you've been scheduling so far, you've been playing big tournaments mostly. Have you thought about scaling back some and playing some smaller tournaments, like Quebec City?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I definitely looked at it. Also, I had to be also very realistic and see what kind of fits with the traveling and so on and also with the preparation.
Like I said, after Rome I didn't feel like I put so much good work, quality work in. It was always stop and go and this and that and little niggles here and there.
So I just felt after Wimbledon I wanted to take time and not to play tournaments in Europe back on clay and just try to prepare, prepare very well. I was gonna play San Diego and here, and then I decided to play one more tournament in Stanford and I could connect it.
That's why I decided to play New Haven. So I'll be playing there. Next week I'll have off and then play New Haven.
Q. Do you know what your schedule is like after the US Open? Have you thought about that?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, I have three tournaments which I committed to: Beijing, Tokyo, and Luxembourg. I'm thinking of putting maybe Seoul in there. It really depends on how I go.
Q. What do you like most about the improvements made to the facilities this year? Obviously a huge change.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it is huge, and such a nice surprise. I had no idea they was doing some changes. Next year that's gonna be joint event, and it just feels like so much more space. People are so friendly and really, really helpful. I think it's really nice stadium as well. Crowds are actually good. They know a lot about tennis, and that's great to see.
I think next year it's gonna be a great event with the girls and guys joined. Think it's fun for us and fun for spectators.
Q. Going into a match like this, it seems like sometimes you're an underdog, which you weren't before. Do you think that has advantages and disadvantages? What are your thoughts on this that?
ANA IVANOVIC: It definitely does. If you're underdog it kind of takes some pressure off. Then again, I try to see myself as the same player as I was before. I have certain expectations of myself.
And, you know, when I feel good and I feel I've been playing really well, I kind of still put pressure on myself that I actually should win these matches. You just have to be actually sometimes realistic and know that sometimes you need more matches to gain confidence.
That's what I haven't had in a long time. So, yeah, just try to basically go back and try to work hard for each point then.
End of FastScripts