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January 12, 2016

Simona Halep

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

S. HALEP/C. Garcia

6-4, 2-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was a tough match tonight, your first match for the season. How would you assess it? Maybe you could talk a little bit about your injury at the end of the second set.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it was tough match. I expected actually a tough match because I know her pretty well. She's strong and she hits the ball strong. She has a good serve.

I think I did well today. Especially in the third set I think I was strong and solid. I played my best tennis in the third set, and, you know, I saw that in the second set I did a step behind the baseline. I was too far from the court. So maybe that's why she dominated me.

After, yeah, I thought that I have to go more close to the baseline and to hit the ball faster to open the court and to make the points shorter.

About the injury, yeah, I had pain in the second set. This Achilles pain is coming in and is going away. So I'm not sure when it's coming and when it's going. I have to stay focus, I have to stay patient, and try to stay there in the match and to not think too much about the pain.

It's tough to play with it, but I hope it's going away soon.

Q. In the third set you say, Okay, it feels better now?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't feel pain at all in the third set. In first set as well no pain; second set was tough.

Q. Didn't Darren say, What's wrong? Does it hurt you a lot? You said yes.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, he's ask me if it's hurting and I said yeah.

Q. By the third set then it was okay.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, third set was okay. I had no expectation, yeah. But that's it, yeah.

Q. Was part of it to see how much you could push yourself through the injury as well?
SIMONA HALEP: It's tough to play with the pain, because I got a little bit scared. When you have pain you always get scared because you don't know what is going to happen.

But I felt actually yesterday during the practice same thing. Five minutes pain, five minutes without pain. So, yeah, I don't know exactly what this is. MRI showed that I have just an inflammation and I can keep playing, so I will do my best and I will try to be there, to stay focused.

Q. Have the physios told you if that is consistent with an Achilles inflammation, the pain coming and going?

Q. Do the physios tell that you that that's normal for that injury?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's normal, because when run, when you stop, Achilles is touched, so that's why inflammation is painful.

Q. Were you tempted at all at any point to withdraw?
SIMONA HALEP: No, no. I don't want to stop and I didn't want to stop.

Q. Next up you have Pliskova, who made the final here last year and is the 5th seed. What are your thoughts about that match and how you match up against her?
SIMONA HALEP: I know her pretty well. I played her in Dubai last year I think and Indian Wells. I beat her twice, so I know that she's strong. I know that will be a tough match. She has a good serve.

I know how she plays so I know what I have to do on court. Every match is different, so I have to do my game, to try to do like I did today: smart, aggressive, open the court.

So I have no expectations. I just want to go to have one more match. I need matches now. This is the beginning of the year, so it's okay. I want just to feel healthy on court and to try everything I can.

Q. Do you get excited playing players like her? She's one of the best players in the world. Do you look forward to matches like that when you come up against someone that's a bigger name?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I look forward to face tough opponents, because these opponents make you more stronger, make you stronger, and you can see where you are.

So today was good that I had good match, tough match. It's first one, like I said, and it's always good to see how you did in off-season.

I feel that I got stronger coming from the off-season. I feel better, I am serve better, so everything is going in the right way.

Q. Last week in Brisbane you couldn't have played. Could you have waited two weeks but said, No, I want to come here because I miss playing; is that true?
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, it's true. I needed matches and see if I can stay during the match until the end with my Achilles. So I did well today. I am happy that I could finish. I am happier that in the third set I didn't feel pain.

Means that I can keep working, keep playing, and keep playing with tough opponents.

Q. Late in the third set I think there was a let that the umpire didn't call and you called it.
SIMONA HALEP: What is that?

Q. There was a let cord.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it was let. I think everyone saw. Chair umpire missed it so it was fine.

Q. You were happy to give Garcia that extra chance?

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