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January 13, 2012

Jarkko Nieminen


J. NIEMINEN/D. Istomin
7‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Quite a tiebreaker.
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  Yeah, it was a great tiebreak.  I think it got better and better.  I think last six, seven points we both played well.  We both played I think almost only with the first serve and played really aggressive.
I felt I didn't do anything wrong in those set points.  Istomin came up with really good serves, really good shots.  I had a pretty good taste in my mouth even though I lost those chances.
But finally I got the set, and obviously was a big thing, both coming from quallies.  Obviously after winning six matches we are both confident.  And even though it's not extremely hot today, it's nice to take the first set.
Q.  Nice to be in another final?
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  Yeah, I'm really feeling good.  I really enjoy that moment now being in the finals again now second time here.  It's just great that I start the year like this.  I struggled in the beginning of the last year, and this is a really, really great confidence boost for me.
I think every player wants have to a good start here in Australia, and I really tried to come back to the top.  I had very good off‑season, so I'm very happy that it's paying off already now.

Q.  Your record in finals is not the best.
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  No, it's not the best, but I haven't ‑‑ I felt it's ‑‑ the final hasn't been a big thing for me.  At least half of those losses I didn't any chances.  I had Federer twice, few matches that I just got basically destroyed.
I was just simply the second best player of the week.  Not that I got nervous or anything.  I just, yeah, always tried my best.  Obviously it hasn't been enough to win more titles, but hopefully I can take one more tomorrow.

Q.  What's your record like against the two semifinalists?  I haven't even looked.
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  I beat Baghdatis and lost to him.  Benneteau maybe‑‑ at least I beat him few times maybe, yeah.
Q.  So you'll be feeling confident going into the final?
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  I'm feeling good.  I'm feeling great.  This is my best week for I don't know for how long.
Like I said, I had one of the best off‑seasons.  I stayed healthy this time and I could do all my practices.  At the same time, I was playing really well, so I had the feeling I could get some good results in the beginning of the year, but I didn't expect it to come this fast.
Yeah, just like I said, just enjoy the moment; try to get as much rest as possible after the doubles.  Luckily it's tomorrow, the final will be tomorrow evening, so I get some extra rest during tomorrow.
My goal is just to continue playing well.  If I can do that, then I'm happy.  We'll see if it's enough to win the title or not.

Q.  How do you think you cope with the one‑sided crowds that seem to follow wherever Marcos Baghdatis is playing?
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  It's obviously nice for him, but I think the supporters are pretty good.  They're not mean to the opponents or anything.  They just give great support to Marcos.
He's a great guy on and off the court.  He respects the opponent and other people, yeah, like I said, on and off the court.  He just gets more local support than many times the opponents, but that's how it is.
Like I said, his supporters are pretty good.

Q.  Your drive to 2009 final, did you learn anything from that that you can take into tomorrow?
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  Um, not really.  I didn't play bad in that finals.  I felt Nalbandian was better.  I was just fighting really hard.  I hardly won one set.  I was a little bit lucky to win the second set there.  I felt I was lucky.
In many other finals, I was just like maybe one or two times I get a little bit nervous.  But it wasn't like I haven't been leading big in those finals or anything.
It's just, like I said, I feel that I haven't made big mistakes in the finals.  Maybe in some other rounds, of course, but it's just I feel that I haven't‑‑ I think one big thing is that my game style takes a lot of energy.
When I play a lot of matches, when I get to the finals, obviously there is another guy who's playing great.  At that point, I'm supposed to play even better.
Maybe some ‑‑ many times I have lost little bit my energy, and then that makes sometime the difference.  But at the moment I feel surprisingly fresh comparing the amount the matches I have had here.
I'm also surprised myself how good my body feels.  Knock the wood; I hope it stays like this.
Q.  You had a look at the Australian Open draw?
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  No, not yet.  I heard it came out, but I will check it.  I don't know who I play.
Q.  Do you mind if we tell you?
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  Yeah.  I will know it anyway.

Q.  You played Nalbandian.
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  I play Nalbandian, okay.

Q.  Tough draw for you.
JARKKO NIEMINEN:  Nowadays he's always a big question mark.  When he's playing his best tennis he's obviously one of the‑‑ still one of the best players in the world.  But he hasn't been that solid like during his best years.
So for sure it's not the easiest draw from 127 options, but I'm not seeded.  I can play Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Murray first round as well.
I also beat him few times even though I lost him as well.  It's not the best, but I can't control it, so...

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