Cincinnati Semi-Final Interview

Q. Obviously a tough one. Where do you feel like it fell apart for you at the end?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, just a matter of a couple points, I guess, being one point away from winning. But also being down as far as I was in the beginning of the match and close to losing it. So certainly a lot of ups and downs. Wasn’t happy with that.
Overall happy that I got myself back in a winning position, although I didn’t take it today.

Q. Looked like you were fairly flat energy‑wise. How much impact does that actually have with kind of what your energy levels are like on the court.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think it was a combination of flat, just not executing what I want to from the beginning of the match, making a few too many errors.
Yeah, overall I guess it’s not how you start it’s how you finish. Today I didn’t start or finish well.
Yeah, it’s kind of how it goes in this sport.

Q. Second consecutive match of your opponent breaking you several times. Is it a matter of something not working right with your serve, or are they’re getting good read on it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Lack of focus, lack of concentration. Yeah, doing something right for a certain period of time and then letting go of that.
Yeah, pretty much it.

Q. How did you turn the momentum back? It was 6‑2, 4‑0. May be a very short night.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I’m not really sure. I think I just started being a bit more aggressive. It was 4‑0 and I think at 5‑2 she called her coach on the court. I was like, okay, well that’s usually not a great sign when you’re a game away from winning the match.
The matches in tennis are never over until you actually finish it. I’ve been in those positions before. It was only one break in the second set.
I really felt like if I started making a few returns, making her play, maybe I would get an opportunity. And I did.

Q. You feel pretty good right now about where your game is going into the US Open?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do, actually. I feel like I’ve played enough matches. Definitely would’ve loved to play another one tomorrow, but just didn’t happen that way.
Yeah, overall got through some tough, tough wins. From the first round on it wasn’t easy for me here until the very last point today.
Yeah, definitely, yeah, going to be another week and another slam up ahead.

Q. What were your thoughts on the time that she took early in the third set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I never actually got a clear answer on what it was, but, I mean, I don’t know. Could have been something like an anxiety or something. I’m not really sure what you take blood pressure for.
We played a pretty long point afterwards and she seemed to be doing well. Not really sure what was going on there.

Q. ESPN has some video of you tapping your shoulder and saying, Check for blood pressure middle of the third set. Were you angry or put off by what she had done?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was just a strange timing. I’m not sure kind of how it happened. Just kind of came out of nowhere. Just don’t know what to do in that situation, because you either sit down, are they going to take a medical timeout, but then they don’t and you got to get up and then you got to serve and it’s 15‑All.
The timing was a bit strange, but she looked okay.

Q. You think if they take a medical timeout mid‑game they should forfeit that game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know. I don’t make the rules. That sounds a bit silly, but I don’t know. After a minute she was good, but before that she wasn’t. Must’ve been something that was anxious or anxiety. Only thing I can think of really.

Q. Does that distract you or put you off?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think a won that game. But, no, obviously it adds something to the game. All of a sudden there is an interruption. You don’t know what’s going on. Is it an injury?
And then you don’t get an answer. I don’t think they even know. That’s the tricky part, I guess.

Q. You usually play on center court everywhere you play. Last two you played on Grandstand. Any differential going back on center getting used to a different court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You got to earn your spot on center, and I did. Obviously with the men and women playing together it’s a very tough scheduling event.
But, yeah, I’m just glad I got myself back there. That means I played enough matches to do that.

Q. In the end, you think it was just a matter of, execution for you from your side? Tactical? Technical?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Obviously if I would’ve executed a few points better than I did would’ve made a difference.
Just didn’t happen that way.

Q. End of the 5‑4 game, you served and had two match points. Do you remember what happened on those or how that lead slipped again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I do. I think she had a forehand inside‑out winner on one of those, and I made a backhand error on another.
As I said, I created myself a good position after having a slow start. I was down and out in the match and I found a way to get myself in a winning position.
Today it didn’t work out for me. That’s really the headline of the whole story.

Q. You’ve got some time before the US Open now. What are you going to do to kind of reset and prepare for the major coming up?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that week before is just working on a few things, getting out on the practice court, making sure that you do the right thing both physically and mentally.
You have a few appearances usually in New York leading into the Open, so managing the time and being fresh for the beginning. That’s the most important thing.

Q. Would you say the Cincinnati Open is a good tournament to decide where you stand mentally and physically?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Which one? This one?

Q. Yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, of course. I think this is a top‑level event. Everyone competes if they’re healthy. That’s why we’re all here. I think it’s a mandatory tournament, certainly one that we must play on the calendar.
Yeah, I’ve had good success here, had consistent results. Disappointing to lose tonight, but overall happy going into the Open.