M. SHARAPOVA/S. Lisicki
3‑6, 6‑2, 6‑3
Q. You're obviously happy to advance in the tournament, but how happy were you with your game tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, the first three games were good, then it went south for a bit, and then I got it together in the second. The third was a battle. No doubt, she played some really good tennis. I think the level was pretty high. You know, she had some opportunities and some breakpoints. You know, I came up with a good couple of second serves, you know, won that game, and felt pretty confident after that.
Yeah, obviously a few ups and down, but really happy to be through and a step further than last year.
Q. What part of her game gave you the most trouble tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, she's a really solid player. She has a big game. Big weapons. Serves really well. You know, started returning well, but that wasn't working for me. Got that back. But, you know, returning's obviously really important against her.
Q. How much do you think your experience counted out there tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In the match, during the match, you don't really think about it. You're really in the battle. So you don't think about how much experience you have compared to her.
I've been in those situations before many times. It's more about trying to carry the momentum, you know, in the situation, in the match, after winning the second set and hoping to continue that and improving the level, not worrying so much about experience.
Q. Must be hard to get a read on her game because she's slapping at the ball pretty hard the whole time.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. Did you think just in the second set to play more rally balls, but in a sense you have to dictate, too, because if you don't she's going to clock a winner from anywhere?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, if you played her strengths, if you give her time, I mean, that's what she really does best: she gets a good strike on the ball and can hit a good winner from, you know, any side of the court. But if she can do that for three hours straight, I mean, at the end of the match you end up losing and that's just too good.
But obviously I was trying to create those opportunities where, you know, maybe she had to go for a little bit more and force the errors out of her.
Q. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but movement‑wise you're looking pretty good out there. You got balls back with something on them.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Thank you.
Q. Just talk about that, because that's not a part of your game that's discussed very often.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's a part of my game that I constantly work on, being quick, working on the physical part. It's one of the most important things in the game because it has become a lot more physical and much more demanding on the body. Also in the last few years I'm stronger, I'm able to withstand much longer matches which helps me, and also the recovery. I think that's why my success has been a lot better on the clay.
But, yeah, it's an area that I always try to improve. I'm 6'2" and I think for somebody at that height, I still feel like I can be better.
Q. Did you watch Serena's match today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I watched the last couple of games. That's it.
Q. Were you happy to see her get out of your path here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought that Makarova, the few points that I saw, played really solid and well, forced unforced errors from her.
Yeah, but either way, I mean, it doesn't matter. For her to come in and win in straight sets and to play at that level means she's obviously on a pretty big, high note right now confidence‑wise, and that's always dangerous.
Q. How do you approach a match against someone like her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You got to concentrate on yourself. You know that you're in a quarterfinals stage of a tournament. It's only going to be tough from here. I mean, the further you get, the tougher it gets.
Obviously it's focusing on what I have to do. I played her a couple of times last year. It was on clay. We haven't played on hard, I don't think. So that will be a different matchup. But another lefty. I think it will help me that I already played against a lefty in this tournament. So, yeah.
Q. You beat her what, Madrid, Rome last year? Madrid was fairly close, but Rome you got her pretty good. Did you see her make a big jump from there to today's tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's tough to say. I didn't get a good chance to see a lot of games. I watched a few points. I usually don't like to watch too much tennis going into a match.
Q. Is it becoming more difficult to make you smile at the press conferences now, to find a way to have a cheerful answer?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, maybe you should start asking cheerful questions and I'll have cheerful answers (smiling). You always ask silly ones, so... I know you do. You're Italian.
Q. What do you consider your age is when you look at yourself?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: My what?
Q. Your age.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: My age?
Q. Do you feel yourself you are young or so many years on tennis that maybe you're older than your age? In relationship with what you have done in the tennis...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The fact is I've been on the tour for many years, so you don't get away from that fact. I mean, I'm fortunate to be sitting in this position and saying that I achieved great success at 17 years old. Obviously maybe if I had achieved it a few years later, I wouldn't feel like I've been on the tour for so long.
But I'm certainly not complaining for that because that will probably be the highest note of my career. But I'm 24 years old, almost 25. I love this sport as much as I loved it, you know, when I was at that age.
Every day I feel like I wake up and I go out, I feel like I can improve, and that makes me feel young.
I feel like I still have a lot of energy and desire. Maybe the year before last I was on a steady line, maybe didn't have that energy and passion, and everything was kind of at a standstill. But I feel like I've regained that energy, yeah.
Q. Why would it be the highest note of your career when you were 17?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Because I never had expected that that would come to my career. I was so naÔve. I mean, I don't think at that point, when I had won Wimbledon, I understood what it meant. I thought it was just an incredible feeling, and it's Wimbledon, but I don't think I actually logically knew what I had done.
And, yeah, I don't know. I mean, you never quite know when your success is going to come. But I think it was just something that happened, the stars aligned for me to achieve that.
I've also been through a lot of tough times. I've also said the success that I can achieve, the fact that I got myself back to being top 5 in the world, playing tennis again, playing at a high level, competing at this level is pretty remarkable from where I was on a surgery table, not knowing if I'd ever be able to hit a serve again.
So just a lot of perspective. If I do achieve, you know, a Grand Slam win, something on that level, there's no doubt that that will be another big moment in my career.
Q. You were asked a question about being cheerful. When you hit a great winner, you do the fist pump, do you feel happy or is it just satisfaction?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's interesting. During a match, there's so many emotions. Sometimes I'm sure it's almost like you look angry in a way. In the end of the match it's more happiness and just joy, the fact that you won. I mean, whenever I win, it's more like just a really, really happy feeling.
I don't know. I mean, you work towards winning those types of matches ‑ tough or easy ‑ and it gives you a good satisfaction when that match point ends and you're the champion.
It is for many athletes. But when you're in the moment, I'm very competitive, so when I fist pump, it's more like, All right, I won this but we still have many more to go so I'm not celebrating that much yet.