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August 13, 2013

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/M. Sharapova
2‑6, 7‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Sloane.

Q.  Well, it was quite the turnaround.  Can you talk a little bit about that.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely started out a little rough, but was glad to be able to turn around and start playing some good tennis in second and third set.

Q.  So how did you turn around, Sloane?  At 6‑2, 0‑2, looked like nothing was going right.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I was playing terribly, but at the start of the second I was just going to start going for my shots a little more and hopefully they'll just go in.
It wasn't going well at all, but I was glad I started hitting and finding a rhythm, and that kind of helped me out.  So that was good.

Q.  Just closing it out was tough?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  I rarely double fault, so for me to double fault twice on both match points was a little flustering, but I was glad to get through it.

Q.  What was going through your mind when that happened?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I never double fault.  I can't believe I just double faulted.
But, I mean, yeah, I was like, Okay, it's fine.  Don't worry.  This happens to everyone.  So glad to get through it.

Q.  Was it the thought in your mind that you should challenge that first one?  Was that in your head when you double faulted that first time?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  You never want to challenge like on a first serve because it's probably not right.  Then you have the second.
No, not at all.

Q.  Sloane, is this like a big win for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  I mean, on paper I guess.  So it's good.

Q.  Not off paper though?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, yeah, on any‑‑ I don't know.  Any win is a good win, so that's good.

Q.  You said in your interview on Tennis Channel that it's been a rough year for you, which obviously there have been down points for sure, but you've also had a lot of highs.  Does this still feel like it's sort of helping make it a less rough year, like this was a needed win in some ways?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  By rough, I didn't mean‑‑ like I haven't had such a hard time, not like that.  I guess if rough is making semis of a Grand Slam, making quarters, making fourth round, and being top 20 in the world, if that's rough, then I'm in a pretty good situation.
So I just definitely meant more of like wins and losses.  Like tournaments just not going as‑‑ like tournaments other than slams not going as well.  Just to like go to a tournament and defend your points from a year before, you know, that feels good.  Definitely something I've been working on.
So the year will end on a high no matter what, so that's good.

Q.  You talked in Washington about you saying good problem to have to play your best at the big events, but it still must feel pretty nice to get a big win on a smaller stage, which you haven't done as much in your career.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Definitely.  It's a new experience for me winning at smaller tournaments.  So it's definitely, yeah, a new experience, but it's all fun.

Q.  Sloane, looking back on it, do you chalk it up to tactics or your competitiveness?  Kind of talk about how turning that match around.  What do you really key in on that you were proud of?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think the last couple of times I've played her I've played her pretty tough, but I kind of needed like that extra little push.  I've been‑‑ believe it or not, I've been practicing.
Sometimes I'll be practicing, and I'm like Sharapova is going to hit this shot, so hit it back, like.
I definitely‑‑ I knew I could do it.  I just needed to execute.  Today at the beginning I was not executing, but towards the end I was.  I think that's what helped me.

Q.  So was it a matter of kind of having those three matches under your belt and maybe knowing what to expect this time going out there and maybe feeling a little bit more settled?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  I played her three times.  I'm pretty used to playing her.  I think I just needed that little push at the end, and that's what got it done today.

Q.  Sloane, with the experience and just the wins, does it get easier to forget who's across the net?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  I mean, obviously when you're playing someone who's No. 3 in the world, you know they're No. 3 for a reason and they're going to be tough.
So I think it's gotten easier to just be like this person's going to be good.  You've got to go out and play your hardest.  But definitely, when you think about it, you're like, Okay, I'm playing Sharapova.  Like, you've got to get your mind right.
So it's a little tough, but it's okay.

Q.  She's been out for a few months.  Did anything seem different from the previous times you've played her?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Nope.  I thought she played pretty well.  I mean, a set and 2‑0 she was killing it, so definitely the same to me, I guess.

Q.  Did the crowd really help you out there in the second set when you were struggling?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  I mean, they were good.  They were loud.  They were energetic.  They were everything you could ask for in a home crowd.
So, yeah, they're good.

Q.  But do you feed off of that at all?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I'm not sure.  I'm really calm, so I don't know if‑‑ I don't know.  I really don't‑‑ maybe, yes, no, I don't know.

Q.  Have you ever felt like more comfortable when the crowd gets rowdy, or are you more comfortable kind of playing on like the smaller courts where it's a little more quiet and calm and you can focus a little bit more?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I like the crowds.  Obviously I like playing on big stages, so I do like them.  But it's obviously nicer to have a home crowd, like in the States here.  I mean, it's really nice.

Q.  This will be your biggest win in the U.S., right?

Q.  I know you've talked before about feeling more comfortable sometimes away from pressure.  Is something clicking at all this time around?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not that I know of.  It's only been one match, so I'll let you know like in a couple how it feels.

Q.  Sloane, what's more satisfying to you, turning it around?  Is it being a top player in a smaller tournament?  Is it defending your points?  Personally, what's most satisfying about today's win?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think my execution.  When I was down, to get back in the match, I think that's what I'm most proud of.

Q.  Saw a bit of ice wrapped around you.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  My ice, baby.  It's with me all the time.

Q.  How's the abs?  Is that just preventative?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just preventative.  I actually feel fine, so that's good.  But the ice baby comes everywhere with me.  This is Frankie.

Q.  How did you come up with that name?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't know.  I named something else that I got Frankie, so everything is just Frankie now.

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