In the first set you started really well leading 5/2, but then dropped 5 games in a row. What happened there?
I think, I played very well to go up to 5/2 and then Maria kept fighting and I felt like she pushed me to play better. And I started rushing a little bit and lost the moment that I had and got a little bit discouraged from that because she was playing very well. I think that was definitely the breaking point in the first set.
You were down in the second and third sets. But you came back, how did you manage to compose yourself?
I felt like Maria was serving very well and I had some chances, but I couldn’t get them, so I was trying to stay in the match. I just tried to return the balls. I said to myself – if she wants to win, she has to hit winners and I was trying not to give up, keep my head in the game. And I was trying to do the things I had to do – regardless of whether I was trailing at 1/3 or 2/5. I was just trying to think, that the match is still going on and still there was a chance.
Your will to win was just unbelievable. How come you didn’t give up in the 2nd and 3rd sets and how did you motivate yourself to win?
I just really hate losing (laughs). So, I was thinking that I am going to try my best and if it is not good enough, I would be very happy for Maria. But I really wanted to make sure that I am doing everything I can to give myself a chance.
It is often said that there is no friendship on a women’s tour. But you and Maria seem to be very sincere and said nice words to each other on the court. How did you manage to break this stereotype?
We’ve known Maria for a very long time, since juniors. Life isn’t just about tennis, so you need to have friends. In life, you have to be a decent person. Mary is just such a person. I’m glad I have so many friends on the tour. It does not matter what matches we have, who won and who lost – the main thing is that off-court we remain friends.
It was the first time your coach Dmitry Tursunov called you a “crazy lioness.” How do you like your mentor’s reaction?
To be honest, I’m too tired to react to this in any way right now. Dmitry sometimes says funny things in order to set the right mood. He supports me, says I’m crazy. Although I’m not really that crazy – he just wants to cheer me up and have a positive attitude.
How, when you were losing, you were able to pull yourself together and set to the victory?
It’s hard to lose, but I tried to do what I had to do. I did everything that depended on me, I should have known that I had done everything to win this tournament.
You won your sixth title in St. Petersburg and the second one in Russia. Now can you say that Russia brings you good luck?
Yes, I was very happy with the way I performed in Moscow. Both tournament, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, are well organized, everyone is very friendly. I had a very good time in Russia and I will definitely come back here again!