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Elena Baltacha Second Round Press Conference

Indian Wells, CA, USA

March 12, 2010

7-6, 2-6, 7-6
An interview with:
 THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

 Q.  You looked more relieved than anything at the end.  Is it just shock or...
 ELENA BALTACHA:  I wouldn't say it was shock.  I think it was a mixture of everything really, because I felt    kind of by the end of the match I felt a little bit I was getting tired, because obviously, of those other three matches, both of them were pretty long.
 And as well I was    you know, I was quite nervous and excited.  I think it kind of took me like ten seconds to actually realize that she hit that backhand wide.
 But, no, it's an unbelievable feeling.

 Q.  What most pleased you about the way you played and the way you kept battling?  Just a simple thing like coming back 5-1 down in the final set tiebreak or...
 ELENA BALTACHA:  Well, I thought she played the    because I actually, from about 4 All, I felt like I was the one in control.  We had that game that was deuce/advantage for quite a while.  I think it was at 5 4.
 I really felt like it was okay.  I'm really kind of    I'm playing much better, and I'm really in control and I'm really going for everything and I'm playing really well.
 And as the tiebreak started, she just came out with unbelievable stuff.  I think she hit four backhand winners down the line.  And I thought, okay, yeah, that is why you're top 10.  I understand.
But then at 5 1, my focus, just I went into the zone and I felt really strong and I just fought my heart out.  And, yeah, and then, I mean, I couldn't believe.  I was stunned on match point.

 Q.  When she double faulted on match point?
 ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah, I started laughing, because I double faulted.  And I thought, yes, I am nervous.  And then she obviously double faulted, and I thought, okay, we're both quite tight here.
 It was quite funny.  I don't think she found it funny, but I think the crowd found it funny, so...
 But no, no, I mean, it's amazing.  It is amazing.

 Q.  You've had a remarkable year in any respect.  Is it possible to put your finger on one reason or a couple of reasons why it's just blossomed all of a sudden?
 ELENA BALTACHA:  I think where it really started was breaking the top 100 last year in September.  That gave me so much confidence, because I've been trying to break the top 100 for so many years now.
 And to finally do it and think actually, you know, I belong here.  I think just the confidence just grows from there and there, and then, you know, practice sessions, knowing that my body is fit and you know, I'm waking up every morning and I'm not struggling with the back or anything major.  You know, I'm waking up and I'm practicing hard and I feel good.
 Again, your confidence grows, and then you play matches and you keep winning matches, and that's how it kind of just builds and builds.  And then you get to the stage where you really believe in yourself.

 Q.  To continue the confidence thing then, what was going through your mind in the second set, and what did you say to yourself at the start of the third to turn it around?
 ELENA BALTACHA:  Um, second set mentally I started getting a bit fatigued.  Not physically, but mentally.  I knew I had to try and get myself out of it.
 But I think that the whole second set I was a bit flat, and I knew that the start of the third set I knew that I'd have to just -- you know, I'd have to be at another level definitely, because I couldn't carry on how I did in the second set.
 Yeah, and then basically I just thought, right, this is your opportunity.  This is it.  You've got to rise above it, even if you're a bit tired.  You've just got to go for it, you know.  There's a good opportunity.
 I don't think she was playing 100%, and I thought, you know, you've got a big shot here.  You've really got to up it.  And I did.  I really did up it.

 Q.  Did the fact that you had your matches against Safina and Sharapova, does that help you think when you've played big players to come into a match like this in these circumstances and play another big player?
 ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah, of course it does.  Of course it does.
 Because in the past, you know    I mean, like now I'm playing a top player every other week.  Yeah, of course it gives you confidence, the fact that you're putting yourself in that situation to play against these top players.  You know, you feel like you deserve it.  You deserve it much more, and of course you are seeing a much faster ball, a more consistent ball.
 I think when you play these girls week in and week out, then either you don't adapt to it and you fall right away from it, that kind of level, or you do adapt with it and you kind of stick in there with them.
 And I feel that as I've played the big players this year, that I've managed to kind of gain quite a lot out of every single match and just build my game from that.

 Q.  I take it you must take a lot of confidence from, you know, when you're playing somebody like that not being overpowered.  You were in control of lots of those rallies.
 ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah.  I actually played Li in Eastbourne, and I felt that, like, her ball was just so heavy, but I think as well because the way I've been practicing has been much more heavier.
 Again, I've been playing good, you know, world class players, obviously because I'm seeing a much heavier ball.  In a way it didn't surprise me that it didn't seem as quick as what I was seeing at Eastbourne.  I think just that preparation helped me a lot today.

 Q.  Were you aware of the fact that as you were going toe to toe with her, she was getting grumpier and grumpier at the other end?
 ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah, I think as well it's difficult when    I think what's been good for me this week is that I've already played three matches.  You know, I've had to qualify with two matches, and obviously my match the other night, you know, was pretty tough and you know, it was great that I got through it.
 But I think sometimes with the top players, the best time to play them is when they haven't played a match and for them it is the first round, because they haven't experienced the conditions, they haven't experienced the court, and it can be a bit tricky for them.

 Q.  Any thoughts on Molik next round?
 ELENA BALTACHA:  I think if you're looking at second    well, third round, that's a good third round.  But Alicia has been up there and, you know, she's a good player.
 You know, again, I've got nothing to lose.  I'm really excited I'm in the third round, and I'll just go out there and do my best and fight my heart out as always.

 Q.  What do you do to stop yourself from having a letdown after a day like this?  I know you'll have a day off.
 ELENA BALTACHA:  I think I've experienced that situation a few times now where I've had a really big match.  I think Wimbledon was one of them, and then you have a day off, and the day after you're really flat.
 I have experienced that already a few times now, so I know how to kind of react now in that kind of situation.  So I know that I'll definitely be up for it on, let's see, it will be Saturday.  On Saturday.

 Q.  What is the key to that, then?
ELENA BALTACHA:  Do you know what?  It's been a lot of kind of trial and error in a way.  Um, yeah, I mean, it's    sometimes I've kind of over    have been kind of like overeager when I've gone into a match.
 Sometimes I've been a bit too flat, you know.  So just I'm just keeping a really nice balance, and I think the visualization really helps with that.
 And obviously we do that with Nino, so that has really helped me a lot.

 Q.  Have you had any reaction already from home or friends or family?
 ELENA BALTACHA:  You know, I haven't even looked at my phone yet.  I think I'm going to do that tonight, because that will probably be a bit manic.    

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