“How do you analyze your victory against Daria Kasatkina (4-6, 6-1, 7-6 )?
I started the first set well, but then I got tense. I had like a panic attack. I lost my mind a bit. She brings back a lot of balls and I put too many. I managed to regain my composure and play tennis with more control. The second set was very good and it was a fight in the third. It was quite a challenge, there were a lot of ups and downs. I managed to stay as positive as possible, even if I gave in to frustration at times. It hasn’t been very good all the time, very clean, but the intentions and the will to go for it were there.
You have qualified for the semi-finals of the Masters for the second time in two participations after 2017. What does this represent?
It’s a great accomplishment. I was already very happy to be part of the top 8, to pass the group stage even more. With the scenario of this match, it’s even better. I don’t know if it’ll relax me for the semi-final, but it’s a great accomplishment that proves that this year was definitely a success, starting from very far until entering the top 8. It’s proof additional that my style of play works and that I must continue in this direction.
“I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to keep that pace and hold on physically. I ignited on my own, I started to put too much in my strikes”
From 4-2, 5-2 ball in your favor, until the end of the first set, you scored two out of sixteen points. What happened ?
I don’t know, I wish I knew what happens sometimes (smile). I was leading 4-2, but there had been several hanging games, physically difficult rallies. At one point, I panicked. I had the impression that I was not going to be able to keep this rhythm and to hold on physically. I ignited myself, I started to put too much in my strikes. They weren’t coming out much so I was getting more and more frustrated and trying to go even more as I moved less and less… Not a very good mix! With his style of play, I knew I had the keys, that I could lead the exchanges, but I wanted to do a little too much. And with the stress of qualifying, it declined.
There was also that famous ninth game of the third set (at 4-4), more than 13 minutes during which you missed six break points. How did you get over it?
It was really a parameter, the management of matches, of the loss of the first set. I made good progress on that this year where I saved myself from a lot of matches like that. If it doesn’t pass, stay calm, accept it and focus on the next point. That’s what happened at 5-4. I had had opportunities. When you take an ace, good, the other played well. There, it was not really the case. I didn’t go there at all on at least four, I didn’t do anything, it’s not my style. I tried to put that aside and managed to make a great service game.
“You have to know how to take advantage of these matches a little hard. When you give it your all, you want to enjoy a little bit of victory. It gives a lot of emotions and positive energy.
Tell us about that second crazy match point where, after an endless rally that you win, you collapse to the ground…
I couldn’t walk anymore (smile). You have to know how to take advantage of these victories, of these matches a little hard. When you give it your all, you want to enjoy a little bit of victory. It gives a lot of emotions and positive energy. On match point, I was trying to be aggressive, but I was getting more and more tense, my forehand was advancing less and less. We saw her again earlier, I was screaming louder and louder as it progressed less and less. I still kept putting pressure on him and tried to take the first opportunity to move forward. It worked. It’s a good summary of the match.
You will face Maria Sakkari in less than 24 hours (this Sunday from 10:30 p.m. French time). The Greek was at rest this Saturday. Will you be physically ready?
Physically, there, it is much better. We did the cold bath, the bike… I have heavy legs, but nothing in particular so it’s rather positive. The conditions with the surface on the wood, it is quite demanding. The one I’m playing tomorrow (sunday) got an extra day off, but we knew it was going to be like that.
Since qualifying, she seems more relaxed, she takes more chances in the exchange. She’s been playing very well for two years, she’s really solid, especially in big tournaments where she often makes quarter-finals and semi-finals. She is a player of great moments, she proves it once again here. It’s going to be a big game. She is a very different player from the one I faced today, very powerful, who moves very well. It’s going to be a big challenge. »