Q. You faced Kuznetsova in Wuhan. Was that match on your mind at all today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was a first match in Wuhan after not playing for a few weeks. I mean, our past, we’ve always had very difficult matches. That one was no different. It was very physical, a lot of long rallies. Had a bit of a slow start there.
I definitely wanted to do that differently, which I was happy with today. I think I played very aggressively. I controlled most of the points. I didn’t allow her to get many balls back.
It became a little bit trickier in the second set. I thought she played really great defense. Even if I was down a break, I felt like she was doing most of the running.
Yeah, I was definitely happy that I was able to win in two sets.
Q. Last week you were saying you were still struggling with in‑tournament consistency. I’m wondering where you feel and how would you rate your tournament so far this week on that level?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I always think, I mean, everyone has to create their own luck, their own confidence, their own good feeling on the court. It doesn’t just come out of nowhere. It really comes just by doing it out on that court.
You have to put the work in in certain ways, really keep going, keep grinding, especially maybe after losses that you don’t think you should have lost, points that you should have won.
Yeah, of course it’s much easier said than done. If you have the right attitude ‑ and I feel like I have throughout this week ‑ that certainly helps, but you still have to go out there and get it done.
Q. Is there any difference when you play against players from Russia and other countries?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, of course, you’re always aware where the person is from. But Svetlana and I have played against each other many times. There’s no secrets about each other’s games. It’s always nice to know that one of us will be in the next round.
Q. Will you pay your attention to the previous match or just focus on your own game, just do some warming up?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I do some warmup (smiling).
Q. Can you talk about your next matchup against Ana, what you expect out of that, how you prepare for it differently this time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was a very tough match we had in Cincinnati. Just a point away from winning the match. It was a tough one to lose. I felt like I was down and out, and I gave myself a chance to get back into that match.
I’ll be looking to be getting a better start than I did over there, which will be important. She played really well. She’s been playing well so far this year, very consistent. So, yeah, it will be a tough match. She had a day off today, I believe.
Yeah, I always look forward to our matches. I think they’re always very competitive.
Q. Is the year‑end No.1 on your mind at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know. I mean, honestly, in the middle of the year everyone was talking about me staying in the top 10 for such a long period of time. Every match I played, a three‑setter, they go, If she doesn’t win this one, she’ll be out of the top 10.
Honestly, I faced those questions for quite a few tournaments. I wanted to play. I wanted to go out there. If I lost the match, I wanted to give myself another chance the next week. That’s how I see this situation. To be able to put myself back in the position to be No.1 again is incredible. I didn’t know whether I would be able to have that consistency before the year started.
Q. Serena Williams quit and Halep quit. Is it a pity for you or is it easier for you to get the title?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it’s not something I think about too much, as those were not the opponents that were my next‑round opponents right away. Of course, at the end of the year you expect some injuries, this and that. It’s always a tricky time of the year. I mean, health is such an important part of what we do. Especially getting ready for a big tournament that we have in Singapore, you want to be 100% as much as you can.
I’ve been fortunate to be in a good position health‑wise this whole year. Yeah, I haven’t paid too much attention to it, quite honestly.
Q. Have you talked to the Russian Federation whether you are going to play Fed Cup for next year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I am. I’m playing in Poland next year.
Q. This time at the China Open, your candy sold very well. What is your favorite in terms of this?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What is my favorite? I don’t know. My favorites change all the time. I haven’t eaten it too much because I’m trying to be good, not have too many sweets.
I think Speedy is my current favorite because it’s a yogurt‑based gummy.
Q. Will you give the fans the Sugarpova for free or give them a discount if you win the next match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Who is getting the discounts? I don’t think they were supposed to be giving discounts (laughter). I’m not the salesperson.
Q. This is not your decision to give them discounts?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Occasionally, yes. But I’m concentrating on my tennis. If they give discounts, great.