Beijing Semi-Final Interview

Q. A very fast start for you, very aggressive game. Talk us through what your mentality was coming into this match and how you were able to close it out in the end after a very long service game.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I thought I executed quite well with the plan that I had in mind from the beginning of the match. It’s something I wasn’t really good at in my previous match. I kind of let her run with her rhythm. She was the more aggressive player last time which didn’t help me very much. I was always on defense.
Today I felt that I really was the one kind of going for it, making her move. Sometimes the rallies I lost is when she was on the run. I was all right with those. I’d rather lose those types of rallies than if she’s pushing me back and hitting winners.
Yeah, definitely got tricky in the end. I was happy with the challenge (smiling). Those are the ones where you’re like, Okay, I like the challenge system.
Yeah, it was a long game, but happy to get through today.

Q. In the last game, you had some double‑faults, as well. Did you feel some pressure to get that game done with and get the match done with? Is that why so much trouble with the serve?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, I definitely started the game off rushing. But then I think I hit like three or four aces in that game, as well, which saved me.
I didn’t just give her a serve where she could attack because against me she’s always played well when she has been behind because she’s free and loose. Some of those match points, there’s not much you can do with those shots where they’re close to the line where she’s swinging freely.
I think I rushed into it, but saved myself well with a few good first serves.

Q. Speaking of the serving, nine aces over two sets is a pretty good clip for you. Was that a tactical thing, and maybe that’s why the double‑faults were racking up as well? That stat sticks out in your matches.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t think my speed was necessarily higher than maybe my previous matches. I think I placed the ball quite well today. I’ve always felt that’s more important than just hitting big serves, powering through. Trying to find my spots a little bit more but yet maintaining that kind of aggressive attitude toward it, not just placing the ball or trying to get the ball in.

Q. Do you feel like the China Open is on your bucket list because you haven’t won this tournament before? Obviously this year is going to be a great chance. How about try to win it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: How about, Yeah. I think that’s a good idea (smiling).
It’s obviously nice to put myself in a position. It’s a long tournament with a lot of matches, so it’s great to be in a position where it’s only one match left because you feel like everything you have, you have to lay it out on the line.
As you said, it’s a tournament that I haven’t won before. I missed last year. It’s great to be back at this stage of the event. Yeah, hopefully I can take it a step further.

Q. Against Petra, she’s obviously a highly offensive player and players can get caught between wanting to be offensive or dropping back and forcing her to rack up errors. What is your mentality going into that match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, we’ve played on different surfaces against each other. I believe we’ve only played once this year, and that was in Miami. That was a good result for me.
She’s had a great couple of weeks. She plays her best when she’s the aggressive player. Yeah, I’ll certainly have to look at a few things. But right now I haven’t really thought about that match, quite honestly. It’s a bit too soon.
I think just resting, recovering, speaking to Sven a little bit about it tomorrow and getting ready for it.