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May 9, 2017

Simona Halep

Madrid, Spain

S. HALEP/R. Vinci

6-3, 2-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What parts of her game made it difficult for you in this match?
SIMONA HALEP: Her game is not easy to play. Her slices are very difficult to return. She was hitting pretty strong also with the forehand today, serve, everything. She played unbelievable.

Yeah, I was close to lose the match. But I stayed strong. I stayed focused. I didn't give up. That makes this match much more like bigger for me. It means a lot.

Q. In the next match you will have Samantha Stosur, a completely different game compared to Vinci. What kind of preparation are you going to have?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I know Sam pretty well. We played many times together. It's going to be very difficult. Her topspin is not easy to return.

I played her here last year, so I know what I have to do. Still, it's going to be a tough match.

I'm looking forward to it. I try, like today, my best doing it.

Q. Yesterday after the match against Maria Sharapova, Bouchard said many players wished her luck, players she has never talked with so much. I would like to know if you wished her good luck. And right now that Maria is back, do you think other players have a bigger motivation to win the matches against her than ever before?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't wish good luck to Bouchard because we don't speak, actually. She's different, I can say. I cannot judge her for being this. I cannot admire her for being this. I have nothing to say about her person.

And about Maria Sharapova, she's back. I'm not thinking that much, because many players are difficult in this level of tennis, the highest level of tennis.

For me it's the same if Maria is here, if Maria is not here. I don't feel extra motivated. I didn't meet her yet. But it's the same for me.

Q. This time around with Darren coming down, it seemed to be a lot more positive. You came back from 1-4 down in the final set. Talk a little bit about how you feel your attitude was in this match, something you have been working on.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I worked a lot. I think today I was very good, maybe the best way that I've been this year so far.

I try just to stay positive, even if I was down, like 5-2 also in the third set. I was close to lose it.

But, yeah, I just want to stay there positive. It's tough to stay positive when you are 5-2 down. But still I tried just to play every ball and not thinking about the score.

It was good this time. I don't want to repeat it. But it was a good match, strong mentally for me. I've been strong till the end. That gives me more confidence that I'm strong mentally. Even if I have sometimes downs, I also hit the racquet a little bit today, but was a positive thing.

It's okay. I will not be quiet, quiet, but I will be positive, more positive.

Q. Last year was obviously a very good tournament for you and for your compatriots. Is there something in the water in Madrid for the Romanians or is it just a coincidence?
SIMONA HALEP: Maybe because Mr. Tiriac is the owner and makes everything like home (smiling).

In my opinion, the altitude I think helps us. The fact that we are many Romanians here, also boys, coaches, so we are many. We feel relaxed, in my opinion.

Here for me is special because I won last year. I played one final before. I feel pretty good on this court. I played my best tennis last year at this tournament. I'm trying just to repeat it. It's not going to be easy.

But I have a lot of support at this tournament. I want to thank to everyone for this.

Q. Your section of the draw, seemingly the seeds are going out quite early. Does that change things for you? Does it make it a bit more pressure on you knowing players like Karolina Pliskova and others have fallen early in the tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually, I don't know who lost and who is still in the tournament. I try to focus on myself a lot. As you saw today, I could lose the match. So it doesn't matter who is winning, who is losing. Every match is tough.

I'm just trying to be on my side, on myself, focus on myself, and to win every match I play. But here, I started with a tough one with Pliskova. I played Vinci. Tomorrow I have Stosur. It's a very tough level.

I'm not thinking about anything, but just take the next match.

Q. On the subject of Stosur, even though you lead 5-4, she's got the measure of you a little bit on clay. I know you said you didn't want another repeat of a tough three-setter. Do you think you're going to be in for a rough ride?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, for sure it's going to be a tough match. I played against her last time in Miami, I think. Yeah, I was close to lose, as well.

Last year I played a good match against her here. I have confidence about that. But, like I say always, it's going to be a different match. I'm just going there to do my job, to do my game. I will try to be aggressive, to avoid her topspin forehand (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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