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October 24, 2014

Simona Halep


7‑6, 3‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What was it like playing a match knowing you were already through?  Did that change anything for you or feel like a normal match out there?
SIMONA HALEP:  No, I felt like a normal match.  My mind was very focused to win the match if I can.  I tried everything to do it, but, yeah, didn't happen.
She played really great.  She's a great player.  She made very good points in important moments.

Q.  Stakes were probably higher for Serena than you in this match.  If you had lost in straight sets Serena would've been eliminated.  Did you hear anything from her or her team about that?
SIMONA HALEP:  No, I didn't hear about this.  I knew it can happen if I lose 6‑3, 6‑3 or something like this.  I didn't care.  I'm not afraid again to play against Serena.
Every day it's a new day, so I'm looking forward only to play my best on court, to do everything I can in that day and in that match.
So I tried everything, and I'm looking forward for the next match, to be very focus and prepared to fight to win.

Q.  It was a physical match against Ana tonight, and probably very exhausting.  Now you have to turn around and play the semifinals tomorrow.  At some point during the match did you start to think, I need to save some energy?
SIMONA HALEP:  No, I didn't think.  I don't feel tired now.  It was a long match, tough match, but, you know, sometimes you need to play more and it help you for the next day, helps you the next day.
I feel good.  I will recover my body tonight and also tomorrow morning because I have time.  I play the second semifinals.
So I'm trying to do everything in the right way, and I will see what will happen tomorrow during the match.  (Smiling.)

Q.  How do you think your matchup against Aga?
SIMONA HALEP:  Against Radwanska?  Yeah, will be a tough match.  I know her very well.  I played twice this year.  It's 1‑1, so we'll see the third match.
You know, she runs a lot on court, and I have to run as well tomorrow.  I have to be aggressive, very aggressive, because she's an intelligent player.  She knows how to open the angles.
But I will try everything.  I believe in my chance.  I believe that I have a chance to win.  It's my dream here, so I have to do everything tomorrow to win and to play the final.
But we will see.

Q.  Is it hard to come back for another match after the huge, huge win you had over Serena?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, it was tough.  Really tough.  But it was good, because I had the day off before this match.  Today was a good day, normal day.  I practiced very, very focused, and, yeah, I think I played very well today.
I managed very well the situation, and, yeah, I did everything I could.

Q.  How long did the feeling of beating Serena last?  Next day were you still smiling all the time or thinking back to it?  Describe the last 48 hours.
SIMONA HALEP:  I will smile because I'm in the semifinals for first time at WTA Finals.  So, you know, I have to feel happy.  I did everything and I played really well here.
I beat No. 1 in the world, so I have no reasons to be sad.  I will try to win tomorrow, and, yeah, of course this week I will never forget.

Q.  You said I think last year that beating Radwanska, in Madrid or Rome‑‑
SIMONA HALEP:  Rome, Rome.

Q.  ‑‑ that that was a big match for and that kicked off your entire last couple of years.  I'm wondering if that mental block against her, thinking that you were never good enough to beat her, is that gone?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, it's gone.  It's gone.  I won last year against her on clay then I won in Doha, so I have two matches won.
I feel good.  I feel prepared to play against her.  I'm not afraid.  I just want to enjoy it, because it's like the best moment in this year.
So nothing to lose tomorrow.

Q.  Just wondering, after beating Serena, did you receive any good messages from people back in Romania?  Are they happy for you for such a big win?
SIMONA HALEP:  I have many messages.  I cannot tell you how many.  During the tournament, you know, I don't answer.  I just read them, some of them.
Then I will answer maybe next week if I have time and if I have the good feelings.  I want to thank to everybody who send me the messages.  I felt very well to receive good, kind words.
I did a great job against Serena, so I'm really happy too for that match.

Q.  Can you give us some sense of how popular you are back home?  Can you walk down the street without being recognized?
SIMONA HALEP:  No, I cannot anymore.  But it's not very stressed.  Just some people are screaming to me, like, Well done Simona, or, You are very good.  Things like that.
It's nice.  I have to enjoy it, but sometimes I get tired.  It's normal.  I have to manage very well the situation because I am in the top now, so I have to learn many things and to enjoy them because they are very nice.

Q.  So how do you go out to dinner or how do you go shopping back home?
SIMONA HALEP:  It's not that bad.  It's not that bad.  I can go.  I make some photos, some autographs, and that's all.

Q.  Can you remember the first time someone screamed at you on the street?
SIMONA HALEP:  I think was last year after Rome when I played semifinals from quallies.  Then I won my first title‑‑ I cannot remember exactly who was or where was.

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