Q. Looking back, that 3‑3 game in the first set, how pivotal do you think that was?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I just remember it was a really long one. I was ready for a water break. (Smiling.)
I was happy that it was over and I got the break. I mean, you know, I felt like I had so many chances in that game. I didn’t take them. She had a few game points.
So we were really back and forth, but that was a very important game.
Q. When you have a game like that, seven deuces, I think, when you’re in the middle of it, were you kind of thinking, This could point the direction of the match or you don’t think that way?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, absolutely, because I was down 1‑3 so it was a very important game. I felt like, you know, after, I broke back, I held my serve, I felt like I had a bit of momentum.
But then with that game you swing back and forth, it was ‑‑that was a very important game.
Q. Conditions? Windy? Was it difficult out there?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, not easy. You know, not easy for the both of us with the heat and the wind. Just one of those days where you know you might not be playing your best tennis. I certainly wasn’t today.
I got through, and I’m on to the next one.
Q. No. 2 in the world. Sometimes they say No. 2 tries harder. How much motivation does that give you? You could actually end up No. 1 at the end of this tournament.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it’s always a great position to be in when you put yourself in a position to be close to No. 1. I mean, I don’t take that for granted for any time of the day.
But I also know that it’s important to be level‑headed and think about the next one rather than the end result or how other people are going to do and where your ranking is going to stand depending on other people’s results and not just yours.
So my theory on that is just to try to win as many matches on your end, and that gives you a better chance to be on top.
Q. On the subject of motivation, there are many tournaments you haven’t won. This is one of them. You won a lot of matches here, but you haven’t had the trophy. When you arrive here, how much is that in the back of your mind?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it’s in the back of my mind because I would love to be the champion here. As you mentioned, it’s one of the biggest tournaments for us and it’s one that I have the most consistent at being in four finals but yet not winning it yet.
I would definitely love to go a step further here.
Q. You have talked about being here, and I know I have read it a couple times but I love the story. I guess your parents come here and taking pictures.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. Can you talk about your memories and things by the fountain?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I saw they took that away, so it’s now like a little palm tree in the middle.
Yeah, I remember coming here, because we were living in Bradenton and it was just a four‑hour drive down. We’d watch Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and I remember watching Marcelo Rios playing. I loved watching him play, and especially the late night and all the Latin fans are still. It’s probably 11:00, close to midnight, and they were going strong.
It was a great atmosphere. So, yeah, I was a fan and now I’m a player here.
Q. I’m amazed at how your tennis has evolutionated [sic]. Do you think your screams have evolutionated as well with your tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I don’t.
Q. You think you scream the same as the first time you came to Miami?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That’s not for me to judge. It’s more for you.
Q. Did you see the story about Serena coming to work on a bicycle?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. (Laughter.)
Q.She decided the traffic was too bad yesterday so she cycled up the road from her hotel.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she’s staying down the road. I mean, if she was somewhere on Brickell or on South Beach that would make for a better story. (Smiling.)
Q. Have you ever ridden to the tournament on a bicycle? Martina used to do that at Wimbledon.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I don’t think I have. I haven’t ridden a bicycle since I was five years old.
Q. You have won at least I guess one title 11 years in a row. It’s very impressive. I think Navratilova, Evert, and Graf are the only three women who have done that. Can you talk a little bit about that and the continuity and longevity?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I have been on the tour for so many years, and I’m very grateful that I have been able to obviously play to be able to play tournaments and to be able to win some of them.
Yeah, that is kind of surprising, because during that time I was also away from the game with an injury for a long time, you know, for nine months. It wasn’t from like a January to the end of the year.
But, yeah, I’m very happy that I have been able to achieve that.
Q. How is your collarbone and shoulder?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Good. It’s doing very well.
Q. And your opponent, Klara, I guess it’s ‑‑
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Zakopalova, yeah.
Q. She’s your next opponent. She gave you a tough match I guess at the French Open.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. I guess you guys are…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, played her in Doha as well a couple months ago. I don’t know when it was.
She’s a tricky one because she’s a grinder. She gets so many balls back and makes you hit a lot. You can never underestimate her game.
Q. Just coming back to the match today for a second.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. You dropped six games, but the scoreline doesn’t really reflect how close the match actually was. What was it that really allowed you to come through today? You seemed to do better when you were facing break points.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I know. Isn’t it amazing what happens when you’re down? You just switch on? (Smiling.)
I think it was a matter of patience. I mean, I think, you know, from the warmup the conditions are not great. You’re facing an opponent that, you know, she’s very capable of playing good tennis.
Maybe her ranking is not, you know, where she wants it to be right now, but she’s beaten me before. I think the last time we played in Beijing. You know, I know what type of tennis she can produce.
In situations like this where it’s tough and it’s hot, it kind of levels out the game a little bit as well, you know, with the windy conditions, because you have to be a bit more patient. That was really important today.
Q. I wanted to know ‑‑ and I am probably saying it wrong ‑‑ is it Sugar…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Sugarpova, yeah. It’s not that hard to say.
Q. Do you, like, walk around with it on you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I used to, but I thought it wasn’t very good for the hips or for the bottom.
Q. You said you have a sweet tooth. Other than your own candy, what’s your favorite sweet?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I like Nutella a lot. Nutella on crepes, that’s one of my favorites. When I’m in Paris I kind of go crazy on that.
It changes all the time, actually.
I mean, the reason I got into gummies was because when I moved to the States when I was seven or eight, I saw like Gummy Bears and gummy‑type candies, and I had never seen that in Russia before.
So I was quite amazed, and I was like, I can’t wait to bring this back to my friends, especially at movie theatres when you go and you choose all the different types of flavors. I think that’s one of the reasons I was so excited about lunching it and lunching something that I have very fond memories of.
Q. The one with the marshmallow sounds good.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it has like a middle marshmallow. That’s quirky.
Q. Do you like Cuban food?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I don’t discriminate food. I like all types of food.