Interview after defeating Zarina Diyas

– Despite the victory in two straight sets, it feels like you were not absolutely happy with your game. In the course of the match, your adverse feelings broke out of you regularly.

– I guess, it’s true. I can’t say that now I feel as well as I did in Australia. My shape has diminished, victories don’t come easily. Sometimes, I have to make myself play actively. And Diyas is a really troublesome opponent. She moves well, doesn’t shelter in defense. That’s why we had long rallies. I am happy that I acted correctly and aggressively in the deciding moments.

– You played in the most sunny spot. How did you feel?

– Unusual for this tournament. It is not so hot in Dubai in February usually. And now, for a week the temperature has not gone below thirty degrees. Our match started at noon so it was very tough. After the first set, Zarina called for a doctor and this small pause was beneficial for me too.

– A little bit later, you and Elena Vesnina advanced to the doubles competition quarterfinals defeating Czech duo Koukalova/Siniakova. Are you ready to keep playing two matches a day in the course of the season?

– Now, such a situation is becoming more difficult. After all, I advance quite much in the singles competition at many tournaments. We will see how things turn out. Time will tell..

– For the first time in the last few years you had a long pause between the Australian Open and the next tournament, since you didn’t play either in the Fed Cup quarterfinals or in Pattaya. Was this pause beneficial for you?

– I hope this will do good for me. I managed to recover a bit both physically and mentally after the long Australian series. We trained great in Moscow with Evgenia Manyukova, and then with Nastya Myskina in Dubai.

– You and Maria Sharapova tend to stay the last Russian players in the draws at the major tournaments lately. Sharapova does not play in Dubai, and you are our only hope again. Does this fact put additional pressure on you?

– I guess, not. By the way, I have been asked this question in Australia already. I try not to think about it. Although, it’s sad – there seem to be a lot of Russian players but then everybody disappear somehow. So, I would like to sincerely wish good results to all our ladies. And I will not get stuck on being the last Russian. I will just try to win the next match.

You are ranked No. 9 in the world now. Would you like to meet a greater challenge – say, to break into the Top 5 of Top 3?

– Every step is exciting in its own way. Being in the Top 10 is a new experience for me and now I have absolutely different feelings. I also feel slightly different attitude to me at the tournaments. All-in-all, it is exciting to be in the Top 10 and I wish myself to stay there as long as I can.

– Little time is left for the April home Fed Cup semifinals against Germany. Have you already informed Myskina, the captain, of your decision concerning your national team performance?

– Not yet. Nastya asked me about it but I needed some time to think it over. The thing is that this year I have the clay tournament in Charleston on my schedule which will take place between Miami and the Fed Cup. And then the European clay series will start at once. As a result, I will appear not to have time for any rest for a long period of time. Frankly speaking, I would like to avoid playing at the Fed Cup this year, but don’t get me wrong. I am very responsible in what concerns the national team performances which take a lot of my energy, emotions and nerves. That’s why I’m on a fence about the semifinals.