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August 20, 2016

Simona Halep

Cincinnati, Ohio

A. KERBER/S. Halep

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty good start, but after the rain delay you seemed to lose some rhythm. Did you feel that?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I mean, I didn't feel the ball too good today. In the end a little bit better.

But she played well. She deserve to win the match. She was better today. Wasn't my best day. I accept it and I take it only like a positive tournament. I did a great job. I have only good thoughts about these two tournaments.

Q. You were down 4-0 in the second set; got it to 4-3. One break away from leveling. Your fans were making a lot of noise. How much do you enjoy that and feed off of that?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I felt them next to me. It was an amazing atmospheric I can say. I was close to turn it around, but I woke up too late today.

The best part is that I was fighting until the end for every ball. Even if I lost the match, I feel that I played like the days before, my best level in the end.

I think I have to take it like this and to say congrats to her, because she knew how to handle all the match.

It was a good match from my side.

Q. This is your second year having a good, deep run at this tournament. As you mentioned, you're still going for it in the second set. You could see that you still had a lot of belief in your shots and going for the lines. Mentally how are you keeping yourself in that zone?
SIMONA HALEP: I feel strong. I feel safe on my body. I think that this is the point that I can stay strong mentally. I feel my game. I feel that I reach already good level of my tennis. I don't want to make it like a drama, this match, because wasn't.

I take it like a positive thing. It's okay. I am not very upset. I am upset that I lost, but I am happy also with the way that I played in the end.

Q. In practice before the match when you were warming up, did you feel like you had rhythm on the ball?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really. I felt before the match maybe the weather a little bit and the racquet was too soft. I change like three racquets, and I'm not normally doing that thing.

But maybe just bad day for me and that's was it.

Q. You said you like to play with the angles a lot and open them up. Were they not there for you today?
SIMONA HALEP: No. Today missed a lot. I couldn't feel the ball when was going -- sometimes was going too much; sometimes I missed many balls in the net.

But in the end, I think I played a good game. I opened the court. I made winners as well. So all was good. I have just the last part of the match in my head and I'm okay.

Q. Did you get what you needed in the last few weeks before the US Open?
SIMONA HALEP: More than I needed, I think. I can say that I didn't expect to win Montréal and play semifinals again here. Were two good weeks for me. I'm happy. I worked hard in the gym before coming here, so I had about four good weeks.

Q. Why didn't you call Darren out a bit...
SIMONA HALEP: I called him in first set.

Q. Second set.
SIMONA HALEP: Second set it was like at 4-1 I was thinking to call him, but I felt it's a bit too late. I just have to find the rhythm, to stay focused, not thinking too much about the score, and just going there to play.

And I found it, so I'm better now that I could find again alone the rhythm.

Q. You said you've had four good weeks and that's evident. What are the things you're most happy with about where your game is right now going into a Grand Slam?
SIMONA HALEP: I am pretty happy about my game. I feel that I play good tennis. I'm strong on my legs. Mentally I'm very good. I think is best period that I had this year so far.

But no expectations for US Open. It's a Grand Slam. Everyone is playing good tennis there, so every match is going to be tough. I'm going there just to play my best, to do my best, to win matches, and to treat the tournament like I treated these two.

Q. If Angie wins tomorrow she'll be the No. 1 player on the WTA. If that happens, do you think that creates belief for other players on tour?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, of course. It's a good thing for us that we are thinking -- we have dreams to get there and win Grand Slams. I think she deserves to be there because she's working hard. Like I said many times, she's a good player.

So we will see tomorrow. But she has a good chance.

Q. What do your next few days look like before the US Open?
SIMONA HALEP: I will go to New York to prepare there, but I need two days off first. I will sleep and just chill.

Q. In New York you did well there last year. Do you feel any differently about that tournament than maybe before? How do you feel about New York? Is it too much? Do you like it? Do you like the atmosphere?
SIMONA HALEP: I like just three, four weeks to stay there. That's all. I cannot stay more. I get tired after a period.

But now it's - how to say - it's more close to my heart because I played semifinals there. I have good memories. I started to enjoy more. I found more restaurants there.

I will stay to the good hotel this year, so I try just to enjoy myself and to be normal.

Q. Are there Romanian restaurants in New York?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't know. Maybe. But I never been. Romanian food is heavy.

Q. When you say you found good restaurants in New York, which ones? Where?
SIMONA HALEP: Oh, no, don't ask me about names because I'm so bad. Italians I like close to the hotel that I've been last year.

Steak. I have been to one good steak.

And Chinese. One very good Chinese.

I have everything, but don't ask me the names.

Q. From listening to you talk about your match today, seems that perhaps you're in a head space that you're focused more on the process than the wins and losses. Is that something that's actually the case and something you've been working on?
SIMONA HALEP: Can you repeat, please? I didn't get it. You ask me if I'm focus more on the result or the way that I'm playing?

Q. Yes.
SIMONA HALEP: Today of course when you go on court you think to win, you want to win. It's the best thing that you have to have, go there for a win.

But like yesterday when I was down 4-0 with Aga, I didn't think too much about the score. I just want to keep this thing in my head, just to playing my best level every match, and not thinking about the score. But always is a desire to win the match.

Q. Is it easy to think about your level rather than the score? Like in Montréal when Darren came on court, he said, We're thinking about the big picture always. Is that easier to do?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I think it's easier. I'm still young, I can say. I have a few more years forward. Now I have to think about the big picture. That means that I have to improve a lot in my game still.

I don't want to think about the match of today. I just want to think that today I have to do good things for the future, like to serve even if I miss, or to hit down the lines like I want to improve.

So, yeah, I'm working on long-term, not just for the present.

Q. How do you think the atmosphere of the WTA Tour will change if Serena is not No. 1? How different a world will it feel like?
SIMONA HALEP: This question is not for me. I cannot answer. I think the people like also the other players. I know that Serena is the best and we cannot compare anyone else to her.

Still, I think the people are enjoying watching us playing tennis. I don't know. We will see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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