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August 15, 2015

Simona Halep


S. HALEP/S. Errani
6‑4, 6‑4

Q. So Simona, a very good win. Not an easy one. You had to fight a little bit out there. So talk us through the match and your thoughts on it.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it was pretty tough because she was running very well today, and I knew that‑‑ how she's playing, so I was prepared a little bit‑‑ I expected like this the match, but it was more than that. I was tired, a set and 4‑2 I had no more power, but you know, sometimes if you push yourself more and you stay there to fight for every ball, you can finish it.
So I did pretty well, and it was a little bit strange because I didn't know where to stay at the return. I wanted to go to take the ball fast. I wanted to stay behind. And yeah, I combined it there, and I think it was a good job for me today, but still I didn't play my best, but I played enough well to win the match.

Q. A lot of people talk about her serve, and it's a kind of confusing thing, I think for us watching why it is that it can be a difficult one to return. So can you explain it?
SIMONA HALEP: I think for the players it's difficult also. It's difficult because she is the only one who is serving so slow I can say. But the ball has a lot of top spin, so it's not easy to hit it, and like maybe because I'm not very tall, the ball is jumping and I cannot take it, just I have to stay like two meters into the court to take the ball fast. So I did a few returns, good returns today, but still, I missed some.
I have to work more on this style and to be better, to get better.

Q. You said before the tournament you had no expectations; you didn't know what to think of your performance here. So you're now in the final.

Q. So how surprised are you, honestly?
SIMONA HALEP: Honestly, I'm not very surprised because I knew that I have the power to win matches here. But, I had very tough draw, and I didn't expect to play final here. But you know, I wish to play‑‑ to try to find a way to fight during the matches, and I think that was the most important thing this week. I had a great week. And you know, when you come to the tournaments without expectations, you are more relaxed and you have to play like without pressure, play what you want, what you are doing during the practices and just trying to play your best every match.
So I did this, and I don't know how I'm in the finals, to be honest. But it's nice, and I have just enjoyed.

Q. Simona, can you talk a little bit about how it's affected the way you practice and prepare for the matches, having a coach with you at the beginning of the week and I guess for a couple of matches, now you haven't had anyone.
SIMONA HALEP: It was enough to have him like three days before the tournament. (Laughs). Tough question. It's‑‑ you know, yeah. I'm used to have‑‑ to change coaches. So it's not very difficult for me.
Sometimes I just want‑‑ I keep in my mind that I have to be focused for what I have to do. I practiced a lot when I arrived here with him, and I know what I have to do during the matches, so it was good, and I did a great job. I think he's mad enough.

Q. Coming into this hardcourt season you probably weren't very happy with your few tournaments before that. What did you do between Wimbledon and now in terms of training who you worked with to try to turn things around?
SIMONA HALEP: Long break. I had a long break, and I didn't think about tennis too much. But I was running every day. So physically I was very well coming here. But tennis, I didn't practice too much. So it's a good thing to keep in my mind and just to remember that I have to work hard for tennis, but still, I have to be fresh when I go to the tournaments.

Q. And you had a chance to meet Justine just now. Just talk about what that was like. And can you also, if there's anything in your game that you've taken from her specifically.
SIMONA HALEP: I was nervous to meet her. It's first time in my life, and she was my idol. She still is because she won many Grand Slams, and I really want to get one, but we will see in the future.
I saw that she's not very tall. So I was happy.
You know, I took some from her game. She was very aggressive when she was playing. She took the ball very fast, and she finished some points, you know, at the net. So I'm trying to improve this, and the return as well. She returned very well in the past.

Q. Congratulations on the win, Simona. After the first two games you had that 40‑30 point against her and that scramble point when you got to that drop shot and then you gave the fist pump in the air.
SIMONA HALEP: I just worked it before coming here. It was amazing.

Q. Do you feel that was the turning point for you in the match where you were able to settle down and you found her pace on her shots and that propelled you the rest of the way?
SIMONA HALEP: You know, it was important point for me. I saw that I have the power to take every ball. But still, I was thinking that if every ball would be like that one, it would be tough to finish the match.
But yeah, it was an important moment, and you know, when I won that point, I said that I have enough power just to run for every ball and to be confident that I can win the match.

Q. And speaking of size overall, not only with Justine, but also playing Sara and yourself and how she plays and how she has like such a great drop shot, do you admire seeing another player around your size and still being such a top player as she is and how that makes it even more inspirational for you to keep on pushing and knowing that you can do that?
SIMONA HALEP: Oh, my God. Long question. Yeah, you know, it was funny because I played with one girl who was smaller than me today. So I told that I have to play higher balls against her, and I knew that she's going to put many drop shots because I played her in Stuttgart, and she did. But today it wasn't too bad for me. I didn't run to many drop shots, but I knew that I have to take the ball fast because she plays with the forehand a lot of top spin.
So you know, I think I did a great job, and it was the perfect plan to play against her.

Q. And final question, with the match tonight with Serena taking on Belinda, and you've played Serena a number of times, but also played Belinda, your thoughts on that with Serena being the favorite but also the possibility of even facing Belinda as well.
SIMONA HALEP: For me to play against Serena is like a big challenge. Always I want to face her because like I said many times, I can learn a few things from her. And I have nothing to lose playing against her. She's the best player, and I respect her a lot. But I know that I have my chance. When I beat her in Singapore, I said that it's possible to beat her. So I have my chance tomorrow.
If I play against Belinda, I know her. I played once on grass court. Will be different. But she has a lot of confidence now, she's playing great tennis. I have my chance as well, and for sure I will fight to win the tournament because I would really love to win it.

Q. Simona, Justine was saying that she feels players don't have enough confidence that they can beat Serena when they play her.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. She's right. Yeah, she's right, because we see that Serena is winning everything and we are thinking that we cannot beat her.

Q. So what are you going to be telling yourself if you play her tomorrow?
SIMONA HALEP: I beat once, so it's possible to repeat it.

Q. Just one question for you. When Justine was here, she said when she was growing up, some people told her that she was too small to be a successful tennis player. So I'm just wondering if when you were growing up, if that ever happened to you, if anybody said that‑‑
SIMONA HALEP: Many people. Many people were telling me that I'm too small, and it's really tough to be like a professional tennis player.
But I didn't trust them. So I was working very hard, and I had good examples. Justine as well. So I said that it's not very important to be very tall to play tennis. So I had confidence that I have my chance with my body. So I did great, I think.

Q. Your opponent today, some of her serves were only 95, 96 kilometers an hour. Tomorrow you could have some serves that are twice as fast as that. Is that a significant adjustment or difficult adjustment for you to face?
SIMONA HALEP: I tell you a joke from this morning with my sparring. He said that "if you're going to win today, tomorrow I have to go to the fitness, if you play against Serena because I cannot serve like her." So I have just to go on court and trying to get the returns and to make her run, to stay aggressive, because if I stay behind the baseline, I have no chance. So I know her pretty well, and you know, I just want to believe that I have my chance. But I go without pressure. I have nothing to lose, just playing against No. 1 in the world.

Q. You said the win in Singapore obviously gives you confidence if you play Serena. But you guys played a tough three‑setter in Miami this year as well, and my recollection of that match is that you didn't play that great. It wasn't a fantastic match from you to get her to three sets. So does that actually give you some confidence as well, that you can stay in the match even if maybe you're not at your A‑plus level?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, in Miami I didn't play my best. I was a little bit tired because I played Indian Wells long matches.
You know, if I stay there for every ball, I have the chance to be close to her. If not, if I give up immediately, I have no chance. So I have just to go there on court and to stay for every ball. I don't know if it's going to be like long match or short match. Everything is possible. So I don't think too much. I just want to do the same routine like I did this week, and waiting to play the final.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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