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January 20, 2014

Sloane Stephens


V. AZARENKA/S. Stephens
6‑3, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Your opponent was pretty aggressive today.  Did you find it difficult just to get into a rhythm just because of that aggressiveness on the other side of the net?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No.¬† I thought obviously she played well.¬† I played some good points.¬† It wasn't ‑ her aggressiveness didn't affect my rhythm.

Q.  A very long first set, 50 minutes.  I guess a lot was about winning the big points.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely had some really long rallies and some long games and didn't convert on some of my break points or opportunities.
It could have went either way but I didn't win some of the important points.  But it is what it is now.

Q.  How much of that was her and how much was you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Definitely she played some good points.  I made some mistakes.  I could have played differently.
Just all that.  But all in all I thought she played pretty solid.

Q.  Score is not that different, but did it feel more competitive than the semi last year?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No.¬† I think both matches last year and this year they were pretty competitive.¬† The score really ‑‑I mean, doesn't reflect like what I guess was out there.
But like I said, she played well.  I played pretty solid.  Of course, I would like to win more of those points in those long games, but, you know, just keep working on it and trying to do better next time.

Q.  Were you able to generate enough momentum to get the crowd into it?  Is that something that maybe could have helped?

Q.  How long has it been since you've gotten in a little pegging war in a professional match?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  A what match?  Sorry.

Q.  Pegging.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Well, I have never hit anyone in a match, so I wouldn't say pegging war.  I thought she was going to move and she didn't.  I don't know what was happening, but didn't think that would ever happen.
But, yeah.

Q.  Could you clarify what happened last night with the raising the arms that was on the television and written about today?  Were you celebrating Serena's demise or what was that about?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  There was no raising of the arms.  At the end of the match, Ivanovic's coaches pretty much gave each other head butts and kisses, and I thought that was the funniest thing ever because I have never seen a more excited head butt/kiss at the end of the match.
Andrew and I were like, Oh, my God we were going to do the same thing.  We were so excited.  Then of course after I'm on the bike, and then I was like, Were they recording that?  Then of course in posts and everything and edit and of course I'm cheering against Serena, which had nothing to do with it.
So that was it.  We were just having some fun.

Q.  You head butted and kissed Andrew after that?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† Did not kiss him.¬† It was like an intense ‑‑I don't know.¬† I don't know (smiling).¬† We had a lot of times on our hands obviously.

Q.  Do you think it was invasive of them to be filming you, watching you in that area?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, it's a little much.  Then for them to put it on TV was a little extra.  It is what it is.  I don't think it was that a deal.
Move on.  Who cares?

Q.  It's nearly 12 months since you played Victoria.  Did you notice anything different in her game?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  She's pretty steady.  She's obviously No. 2 in the world.  She's consistent mentally.  Physically she's all in it.  She's just a really tough competitor.
I'm still working on things trying to get better I thought I matched up pretty good with her today, hopefully work on a few more things and hopefully next time it will be the over way around.

Q.  Does she become more dangerous the more she goes to the net?  Does it make her more versatile?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No, I don't ‑‑yeah, no.

Q.  What do you think she exposed of your game today?  What did she work to do well against you today?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't know.  I shouldn't tell you that because you'll like write that and everyone is going to see it.
No, I guess she played consistent.  She played pretty solid.  Obviously that's what she does really well.
So, you know...

Q.¬† Was your movement, court movement as happy as ‑‑because you're known for that.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, no, I thought I moved pretty well.  Like I said, some little things I can work on, but nothing drastic.

Q.  After last year's match finished, does this match feel a little bit more on edge or heightened?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  I think obviously there's always like hype around matches like these because it's like last year playing the semis and whatever.  But not really.  It's another match.
And obviously fourth round of a Grand Slam is always tough.  You just go out and do your best.  Unfortunately I didn't win today, but there will be others.

Q.  You like these big occasions though, don't you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I mean, they're fun.  Who doesn't like playing on TV in front of a big crowd?

Q.  Yes to Fed Cup or you haven't decided yet?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Obviously I need to take care of my body first.  I have a few little things I need to work on and get together with my team and talk about.
We will see on that.

Q.  But it's a possibility?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  We will see on that.

Q.  February in Cleveland doesn't immediately jump out at you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I hear it's going to be like 0 degrees and snowing, so, no, it's not the first, you know, exciting thing in line.
Obviously I would love to represent my country, but if my body doesn't allow me to, we'll have to see.

Q.  You made fourth round here, but your ranking moved up a couple spots.  Does that change your outlook going forward?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not at all.  Paul told me to start from zero.  I have been playing really well, and unfortunate I didn't get to play Sydney to get some points there or whatever.
But definitely Doha, Dubai, it's a really long year.  I'm looking forward to obviously doing better in the smaller events I didn't do well in last year.
Not too worried about the points and whatever.¬† But it's definitely ‑‑it's tough when you get, you know, into the top 20.¬† But I keep working and try and build on what I have coming up.

Q.  Is it easier to focus on small tournaments?  Next slam is four months away, so you have some time to work on the little ones.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  Obviously I'm going to do my best.  I have Paul and Andrew and Christian, and we are going to do our best to do better, and as a team work to improve.

Q.  What's your schedule from now to the French, I guess?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Charleston.

Q.  Madrid, Rome?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, obviously all the big ones, mandatories, everything.

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