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October 27, 2015

Simona Halep

Singapore, Singapore

6‑4, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was tight in the first set, but then can you explain what changed? What did Maria do differently to make that big gap in the second set?
SIMONA HALEP: She played really well today. She did amazing shots when was the most important moment in the match.
I think I did a good job today. I did everything I could. I was fighting until the end. That's best for me.
Again, same story: I was close but I couldn't win. But I will work. Now I'm more motivated that I have to learn things to beat her.

Q. Darren came on a few times to talk to you and he was encouraging you to be a bit more aggressive. How would you say how much what he said helped you to be a little bit more aggressive and helped you to almost turn things around?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I knew that I stay too back, too far away to the court, so I tried just to come more into the‑‑ you know, close to the baseline to be more aggressive.
But she played well, like I said. She didn't let me make my game, I can say. I did few mistakes. The challenges were not with me today. I hit two double faults in first set at 5‑4, so was very close.
But, you know, I don't have to find excuses. Just to think about this match, to take the positives, and just to work on them and to be better next time when I play against her.

Q. Are you surprised at all at how well she's playing when she hasn't played much in the last three, four months?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she played really well today, even if she didn't play for a long time, since Wimbledon. Yeah she knows how to play. She's a champion. She has experience. I can say I feel she's playing really well against me always, but that's tennis. I have to accept and to do things better.

Q. What in particular is she doing differently from say a few months ago in the summer?
SIMONA HALEP: She is hitting the ball very strong, and today in important moments she hit almost winners in the last game. So she plays well; she plays very aggressive.
You know, she knows how to play in the last games when she has the chance to finish the match.

Q. Did you see her coming in a lot more, trying out a few things at the net, pushing you around a lot more?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she comes a lot, and this court is good for this because she has time. That court is not very fast like in US Open, like in USA, so she has time to come.

Q. There were moments where you were able to open up the court and you got her on the run, hitting a lot of sharp angles. Were you surprised by how well she was moving and getting balls back?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. She was moving pretty well. Like I said, when I opened the court she did some unbelievable shots. She didn't miss. She was very close to the line.
I think she had a good day today. She played her best. You know, I have nothing to comment about that.
She deserves to win and I give her a lot of credit for this match.

Q. Did you take any sense of, I don't know, that there is additional respect that she has for you that she's been able to play this well against you nearly every time?
SIMONA HALEP: She has to answer this question. I feel she always plays well against me, yeah.

Q. This is the first time you were a first seed at such a major tournament like this. Does that give you added confidence or maybe even a little bit more pressure? You have admitted to struggling with expectations lately.
SIMONA HALEP: No, doesn't give me pressure because I don't expect to win this tournament. I came here to enjoy it. Like I said in first day, for me it's a bonus. I was injured before I came here. Now I'm trying just to take the pleasure, to fight for my chance of course, and to try to win matches.
But I don't care if I'm first or second or third.

Q. You had a really good run here last year, all the way way up into the final with Serena. What's it like being here with Serena Williams in the mix?
SIMONA HALEP: I said at the beginning that the tournament is opened. Everyone can win this tournament. The way how Sharapova plays today I think she has a chance to win this.
So everyone can win this title. Of course I believe that I have my chance also.

Q. Is there a danger of being slightly overconfident when you're playing admittedly a great player but a player that hasn't played in three and a half months?
SIMONA HALEP: No, because in this case she had many breaks in the past and she knows how to come back. I think for me was fine. I expect a tough match because I know Sharapova very well.
So I was ready to play, but missed something there again to win against her.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about having to play Aga next on Thursday, that matchup. You split your eight matches; very different opponent from today.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, very different. (Smiling.) But I played against her last year, so I know a little bit how to play against her. I know her pretty well. Her game, she is intelligent on court, smart. She doesn't use a lot of power, but she knows the game.
So I have just to try to be aggressive. Next round will be easier for me to be aggressive because I will have time. Still will be a tough match. She played well in the last last few weeks, so we will see.

Q. Last year when you were here for the first time the situation is different. You won your first two matches and...
SIMONA HALEP: I will still have one chance to win like last year.

Q. Is there a bit more anxiety knowing that all four of you can mathematically qualify for the semifinals? It's a new situation for you.
SIMONA HALEP: I don't want to think about this. I have one more match. If I will be in semifinals, it's okay. If not, it's same.
I wait the holiday, so doesn't matter. But of course I want to be in the semifinals if I can. But first I have to think about the match against Radwanska because it's going to be tough.

Q. We saw today Radwanska losing to Pennetta, and she sounded rather depressed after the defeat. She has only one chance to go forward. Do you think that will make things a little easier for you, because she may not have much confidence after today?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really, because she can say that she has nothing to lose for the last match so she can play relaxed.
I mean, I feel okay. I feel ready to play against her. I feel that I played good tennis today, even if I lost. I have confidence in my game, so it's going to be good day for both of us and who's better to win the match.

Q. On Pennetta and Sharapova, interesting match for us. What do you think could happen? Anything or do you see something?
SIMONA HALEP: Everything can happen there. Pennetta won today so she has confidence. She won US Open so means that she can win the match.
Sharapova, if she's playing like today, she has a chance to win. But I'm not a commentator. I'm a player. We will see next round who's going to win.

Q. The different qualification scenarios always cause us a lot of headache. Are you the kind of player who looks? Will you look before your next match at what scenario would make you qualify and...
SIMONA HALEP: No, not at all. Just playing, and I if can win it, I will win. If not...
THE MODERATOR: Any more questions in English.
SIMONA HALEP: I think it's enough, no? (Laughter.)

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