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March 29, 2011

Kim Clijsters


K. CLIJSTERS/A. Ivanovic
7-6, 3-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So how was that for a match that came from nowhere? I mean, it was an amazing win.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, yeah, I mean, I was down a lot in the third set, and never really felt that I was hitting the ball as I would like to. In the third set, you know, had some chances to go up 2-0 in that first set where I felt that I should have broken a couple of times.
I mean, you know, she was playing really well. I mean, it's been a long time since I've seen her play like that: playing aggressive, serving well. You know, she's tough to beat, so if she can keep that up...
I think she got a little tentative towards the end to try and finish it off, and it gave me some chances to, you know, just stay in the match and try not to overplay, try not to make too many unforced errors.
In the beginning I was kind of torn in between both, you know, try to -- I know I have to try and make her move. You know, her backhand is her weaker shot, but she also -- she was moving around, you know, the backhand. She was hitting a lot of forehand winners from the return.
So, you know, I was kind of torn between both, like play more aggressive, but like I said, I wasn't feeling quite comfortable enough to just change my game. I just tried to get my own rhythm out there, and luckily towards the end I was able to stay calm and very focused on one point every time during each game, and I was able to turn it around.
She made some easy unforced errors which she hadn't done earlier, and I think that gave me a look at trying to break her a few times, and I did.

Q. With her being up 5-1 in the last set, do you feel for her? I mean, because in your prior interviews you said that she's a great girl and you always root for her.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, but you don't think about that during the match. Obviously, you know, again, I don't think about the person who I'm playing. Like I said, I'm just focusing on my game because I wasn't feeling the ball like I would like to.
It's easy to go in your cocoon and try and work your way through that and try to get rid of that bad feeling that you have and just try to take little steps. But at the same time, you know, also try and find a new kind of game plan that makes you -- or that puts a little more pressure on her and gets her out of her comfort zone.
So it's tough, but I was able to do that, you know, just in time. (Smiling.)

Q. There was an awful lot of games from 5-1 to finish. Do you think at all that you might win at that time?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, I mean, I think because I have been on the tour for many years, you realize that you have to keep trying until the last point is played. In tennis, that's sometimes probably the frustrating part about it.
But in my situation now, the good thing about it is that it's never over until that last shot is played. And, again, you know, even if it's 5-1, Okay, you start a game 0-0. She has to win four points.
So you just try to work your way into it. And you do feel when your opponent starts to be a little less aggressive, starts to make a few more easier mistakes. You see her look at the sideline a little bit more. Those kind of things do -- I notice that, and I think that's kind of what gave me a little bit of a like, Ah, you know, maybe there is a little chance.

Q. You couldn't make errors.
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I know, but that's the thing. She was making a lot of -- a lot more errors very early on in the rally, and I think that's something that she didn't to.
She was getting a lot of balls back when I was pushing, when I was being aggressive, she was getting a lot of balls back using her forehand slice, backhand slice, and she was missing a lot of them in those kind of stages.
Even, you know, some my second serves where she was hitting winners in the second set, and in the third set she was making more unforced errors with that.
I think that's what it comes down. It's also a very mental game.

Q. She basically said that whatever the rankings, et cetera, you're the woman to beat on the tour. You're in control. How much of an advantage does that give you in these situations? Do you feel that yourself when you're out there in a situation like that, saying, you know, It's still me, that's still her?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, maybe. I mean, I just -- like I said, I don't think about those kind of things. I don't think, Oh, she's trying to win or serve for the match against me. I just try and figure out what it is that I have to do to try and be -- play her best to finish it off.
And if she would have served a couple of aces and then hit some really good forehands, then, you know, too good. But I was trying not to give it to her that easily. I was trying to just try and go for that backhand, and she hit a couple of short ones. Then I went for it on match point a couple times with my forehand.
At the same time, you want to stay in control, but also you want to try and be aggressive. I think that's something that I've learned over the years in a way, is that if you're waiting for your opponent to make the mistake, you're not gonna win.
So you also have to -- there are moments where you have to try and be patient, but there is also moments where you have to step up and take advantage of her playing not as aggressive and trying to hit some shorter balls.
I think that's something that I've learned over the years, is that I'm able to read that when my opponent is dropping their game a little bit.

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