PARIS – The first match was very compelling; the second French Open women's semi-final threatened to be, but in the end didn't quite get there.
"I don't feel that I played my best tennis today, but to be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and winning a match where I felt my opponent played extremely well, exceptional tennis and I didn't feel that I was playing my best, I fought, I scrambled, and I found a way to win. I'm happy and proud about that."
"In the third (set) I thought I was the aggressive one. I stepped up and I was doing things that I had wanted to do, which was I feel maybe I should have done earlier."
On the long three-set road to the final:
"I played three matches, two before this, and in the end of today's third set, I still feel like I can play another one. That's something I didn't have a few years ago, and I have improved. Obviously there is one more to go."
"My first feeling was amazing. I didn't know how to feel. I cannot say what I feel now. I'm a little bit blocked. It's amazing to play the final here in Paris. It was very tough match. Emotional, also. I was very nervous. But, yeah, I was a little bit stronger I think in the end, in the tiebreak, and I could win the match in two sets."
On when her game clicked a year ago:
"I think the click was in Rome when I beat (Agnieszka) Radwanska. I thought after that match that I can play at higher level to beat the top players. I started to be more aggressive. At that moment I had more confidence in myself."
"Yes, I felt more nervous today. I felt a little bit like in Australian Open before quarterfinals. Before the match was better for me. I stayed relaxed with my team. But when I stepped on court, it was very difficult to manage the emotions."
On the final:
"I have to be happy and just to enjoy. I cannot say how I will feel Saturday. I cannot now. I don't know how is it to play a final of a Grand Slams. (If) I play my game relaxed and with pleasure, to be aggressive and to play fast, I think I have chances."
"I felt, you know, the whole match I didn't play as well as I have played earlier in the tournament. You know, it's always disappointing to be a little bit off. I felt like I was trying to do what I wanted to do, which was, you know, be aggressive, go for my shots. But, you know, often I constructed the point well and then didn't finish it as well as I could.
"You know, I think she kind of elevated her game a little bit later on in the match. I was still trying to do my thing, but, yeah, you know, I had a couple chances here and there and just didn't take my opportunities when I had a few of them."
On facing Sharapova:
"I think she always has a strong presence on the court. I try to do the same, you know. Always be there on every single point. I know she was there on every single point today. But that's how it is when you play a great champion. You definitely feel their presence. I mean, for me, I want to do that as well on the court. I think it elevates the match. You know, just makes it more intense. And, you know, I felt good out there. I was just trying to compete and, you know, she was competing, you know, as hard as she could. And so was I."
"The thing is against Simona I have to play really aggressive and you have to step into the court so she doesn't have the time to play her game, because when she starts opening up the court she plays super smart and she really uses the whole court."
On lack of nerves:
"I was kind of surprised that I wasn't too nervous. I mean, I felt like I wasn't getting into the match in the beginning, not because of nervousness, but more because it was a long wait and my footwork didn't start off well. But then again, I had it in the other matches before. So I wasn't too nervous, but I definitely felt it on my serve, I think, because I'm obviously changing a few things with my serve. And then when I get – when I get tight, that's the one thing that breaks down the most."
On lessons to take away:
"I think I gained a lot of belief in myself as a player again and the stages where I can get to. Because I'm here, I'm in the semifinals, I was in the semifinals, and I didn't play my best tennis and I'm in the semifinals. And I also nowhere near the end with my game. I have still so many things to improve and I was here at the semifinals."