S. STOSUR/D. Cibulkova 6‑4, 6‑1

 

SAMANTHA STOSUR

 

Q.  That was a really commanding performance.  What do you put that down to?  Just preparation or the way you were feeling when you walked out there?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Well, I think everything that you do helps end up helping the way that you go out there to play.

Yeah, I woke up feeling good this morning and had a good warmup.  I guess that just kind of transferred onto the match court and really did what I wanted to do quite well.

So, yeah, very pleased.

Q.  There was a good stat on telly that you have never lost a match at a slam when you’ve won the first set.  Can you just relate that to today, the relief and maybe talk about the way that frees you up, winning the first set in matches?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, I guess that’s a great stat to have, but you also want to have this ‑‑ when you lose the first set you want to come back, too.  It just shows that I try to get off to a good start whenever possible, and when I do that, I can really impose my play on the opponent.

It’s obviously tricky for them to try and beat me if you look at that stat.  So I guess it’s a nice thing to have in the back of your head.

 

Q.  Your kick serve worked miracles today again.  Can you elaborate on that?  How did you get there?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Well, you know, she was I guess giving me a little bit of court to use that today standing where she was to return it.

But having said that, she still got the ball back pretty deep a lot of the time and hit some good penetrating groundstrokes.

But I guess it does allow me to try and open up the court and then really, you know, be able to go the other way and get them running straight off the first shot.

 

Q.  You’re playing another shorter girl in the semifinal.  Will that help as well having played one now and obviously get outside the hitting zone?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, I always try to do that.  But I guess when your opponent is, you know, a little bit shorter, it’s a little bit easier for me maybe to try to use that serve and my forehand up high.

You know, I guess, when you are that height they’re used to hitting the balls up there, too.  So it can help, but also they’re gonna be used to it.  You have to I guess have a plan B in the back of your head.

I’ve got to go out there and probably try and play my game and do what I’ve done in my previous matches to try and, you know, get ahead and hopefully get through.

 

Q.  You have a short Italian called Schiavone.  You wasn’t able to do this.  But with another one called Errani, you beat her five times in a row.  This is your next opponent.  How do you beat her?  Which do you think is the best weapon you have against Errani?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Well, I think, you know, I’ve had success against her in the past, but, you know, semifinals of Roland Garros is a whole new ballgame.  I’ve got to be aware of, you know, what’s going out, what’s happening out on the court when I’m playing.

You can think about the past and the history of the matches, but if something changes when you’re out on the court you have to be aware of that and adjust, too.  I’m going to play aggressive and try and play my game.

I know she’s having a very good year and a very good tournament, as well.  I have to be ready for a tough match.

 

Q.  Are you surprised that Errani is in semifinals?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  No, not necessarily.  She’s had a very good year; won some tournaments.  She’s very tough to play against.  She’s a tough competitor and makes you work for it.

You know, I think this is probably the breakthrough year for her, making quarterfinals Australian Open, and now here, French Open.  You know, she’s having a good year.  You’ve got to respect that and be aware of that.

 

Q.  Cibulkova and a lot of your opponents have talked about your topspin and kick serve and how difficult that is to face because it’s quite unusual.  How is it that you’re able to sort of play those shots effectively?  Why do you think that more players aren’t able to generate that kind of spin?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  I don’t know, because I guess that’s the way I play.  I find it a lot easier to play that way than the way that most of the girls play.  So I think that a big part of the serving factor is when I was young, I had a coach that maybe saw the potential in me to be able to hit that kick serve.

From 10, 11, 12 years old worked on it worked on it and worked on it.  As you get older and you get stronger and get bigger it becomes more and more effective.  So I think that probably was ingrained in me probably from a young age.  At that age, who knows if you’re ever going to make it to this point?  I guess that’s just good looking ahead from the coach I had at that time.

And then the spin and all that, just kind of growing with my game and working with David really improved that the last, you know, four or five years that we’ve been together.

 

Q.  Is it strength or technique?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  I think it’s both.  I think even the girls that you look at on tour that you don’t necessarily think they’re very big or very strong, they can hit the ball very hard.  That’s all through technique and timing of the ball.  It’s probably a bit of both.

 

Q.  You’ve had quite a bit of experience now at this level, semifinals, finals of Grand Slams.  How has your ability to cope with it, the pressure and everything, changed over the years?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Well, I think, yeah, the more you do it, the more you kinda maybe know what to expect and you’re better equipped to handle it then.

Of course, the first time or two that you get in that position, it can, you know, really overwhelm you.  Like I said, the more times you go through it, hopefully you’ve got the tools in your bag to work through it and not worry about that side of things and just go out there and play.

 

Q.  Can I ask you, even if you like to look to the future, but in the past when you lost to Schiavone you were stronger favorite.  I mean, all the bookmakers were all saying that you were going to win.  Was it a nightmare in the following months?  Just before then you won the US Open so you probably forgot, but do you remember the…

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  You Italians are reminding me of bad things.

 

Q.  Sorry.  So I just want to know, how did you react then and what do you remember of that?  And also, what kind of difference you see between Schiavone and Errani?  Because even if Errani plays two‑hand backhands she’s very tactical.  Do you see any difference in particular?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Well, there’s always a difference when you’re playing players ‑‑ and like I said before, it’s a big match for her, big match for me.

It’s, you know, one of those ones where you’ve got to go forward and be aggressive.  I think the one thing I learned with the match against Schiavone in the final is that she played more aggressive and really stepped up and did more that day.

That’s something that, you know, was a tough lesson to learn.  I think now from that experience I have learnt from that.  You know, in these situations I don’t want to, you know, repeat that same thing.

But she’s gonna be tough.  Of course, she’s not very tall and whatever else, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy.  She’s played very well to get to this point, so you have to be ready.

 

Q.  She’s taller than Cibulkova.  I’m joking.  You played her in Rome and she said that she didn’t play that well that day.  What do you remember of that day, the match?  Because it was recent match.  You won 6‑3, 7‑5, I think.  What do you remember of that match?  What happened?  So that we recall.

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, I don’t think I played that great either, to be honest.  It was really actually tough conditions to play there.  It was really windy in Rome and not so warm, and, yeah, it was just difficult to try and play, I think, your best tennis.

But, again, it’s different situation.  I can remember that match, but I think it’s important to look forward to the match in two days’ time and really think about what you want to do rather than the past.

 

Q.  It’s great to watch you perform here so well and other tournaments.  What’s wrong with Australian tennis, in general?  What do you think is the reason why we don’t see many Australian players, especially not any men, anymore in the top players in the world?

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Well, I don’t think there is a major issue with Australian tennis.  I think it’s getting better and better, and I think there’s a really good crop of young juniors coming through that hopefully will be out here in years to come.

You know, we have had the great players in the past, but I think it all goes around in cycles.  We have had that bit of a dip now, but it’s getting better and it’s growing, and hopefully it needs to come ‑‑ everyone will be able to see those results.

 

Q.  This is a question from fans to you.  They’ve noticed that your results at the Australian Open weren’t as good as here in Paris.  The question is:  Would you like the Australian Open to be played in Paris?  (Laughter.)

SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Sure, but I do love playing in Australia.  I never want to, you know, say I don’t enjoy it or anything like that.

But I guess it’s just the way it is.  It’s a totally different surface and time of the year.  It’s always tough coming out playing, you know, straight up at the start of the year.

And being Australian there is a little bit more pressure playing there, but hopefully one day I’ll be able to handle it better.

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