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January 20, 2014
V. AZARENKA/S. Stephens
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?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No, I ‑‑no.
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.
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.
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.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports