WTA stars gearing up for China Open

Published by Tennismash

Simona Halep returns to the China Open, where she first rose to world No.1 last year; Getty Images
World No.1 Simona Halep, follow major winners Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka and defending champion Caroline Garcia were among the top women chatting to the media on Friday in Beijing.

The world’s best women are preparing for next week’s China Open, the final WTA Premier Mandatory tournament of the season. The Tennismash team is in Beijing and caught up with many of the title contenders…

Defending China Open champion Caroline Garcia, on how she is feeling after her Wuhan title defense this week ended in with an opening round loss to Czech Katerina Siniakova:

“I’ve lost a couple of matches that were very tight lately. Of course it is never easy to lose 7-6 in the third, it can be difficult for your head. I was a bit negative for two days, but I’m alright now. You just have to find your way. It is not easy, but it is part of the adventure. If I can get through this, it will make me better.”

World No.1 Simona Halep, on recovering from the back injury that contributed to her opening-round loss to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Wuhan:

“It’s much better than that day, but still sore. I try just to do as many as I can treatments, because it’s really important. So I feel better and hopefully tomorrow I will be really good to play at the fullest.

“I worked really hard back home after US Open; I was really sad I lost in the first round again, two years in a row. But that’slife. And I have to accept. I worked hard, I really was motivated coming here (to China) but just two days before the tournament my back was locked up so I was a little bit frustrated about this. But I cannot change things like this because we cannot control. Here I’m coming (to Beijing) still positive. I’m trying to recover very well and just to be able to play at the highest level and try to win some matches.”

NEWS: Murray beats Goffin to reach Shenzhen quarters

World No.5 Petra Kvitova on her fluctuating season, which included early exits at all Grand Slams yet five WTA titles and almost 50 match wins:

“I’m very pleased with the season – doesn’t matter how the results were in the Grand Slams. When I was trying to come back after the injury I could not imagine to have a season like this. Not even like the season after. For me it’s a huge thing, which I’ll always be very appreciative with. And I do have many, many matches played in this season, and that’s what I was looking for, so I’m very happy with the season.”

US Open champion Naomi Osaka, who’s currently third in the Race to Singapore, on possibly playing at the WTA Finals for the first time:

“For me, at the start of the year it wasn’t really on my mind. But I just wanted to win a tournament and get to the quarters of a Grand Slam. And then after I won Indian Wells I saw that I was on the board, and that I could possibly make it. So I was really excited for that. And then we know how my grass and my clay-court season went (laughter), so it sort of slipped my mind again. Then after I won US Open like I saw that I was really close. And definitely I would love to go – I won the Rising Stars event there before and it definitely holds a lot of special memories, so I think if I could go, I would definitely be very honoured.”

Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, on her season so far and what she’s focusing on at the China Open and for the rest of 2018:

“I’m really proud that I’ve come back stronger after last year. I’ve improved my tennis and of course I won my third Grand Slam at Wimbledon, which was very special. I’m proud about a lot of things. I’ve had the chance to learn from a lot of experiences and I’m happy to be back where I was a few years ago.

“My focus is just trying to play the best tennis I can after a long season. I’m just taking it day-by-day, even if it is practice, and trying to play as good as I can. Knowing it is the last few tournaments of the season, it helps you to give everything that is left in your body and mind.”

Former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova, on shrugging off an early loss in Wuhan ahead of the China Open:

“After I won the Tokyo title, I just felt super tired. I only had one day to recover, so Wuhan was not really the best for me. But I feel much better now. I had a few days off and I’m feeling good in practice. We all need the points for Singapore, so the better I do here the better chance I have to get there. We’ll just see how it goes. I just want to do the best I can do.”

Sixth-ranked Elina Svitolina, on fighting fatigue at the end of a long season:

“Of course it’s tiring, but in the same way I always try to find the motivation and there is big motivation for me to play in Singapore and to finish the year very strong because everyone has their own goals, and for me Singapore definitely stands up there. But it is very tiring (laughter), the end of the season always. Especially when you’re very very close to the holidays already.”

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