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May 20, 2017

Simona Halep

Rome, Italy

S. HALEP/K. Bertens

7-5, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you saw the rain last night and this morning, in light of what you said yesterday about, I hope it doesn't rain, what was going through your mind? And to come through a match like that, how good do you feel?
SIMONA HALEP: I know that we will play here in Rome, doesn't rain that much. I was very confident that we will finish today. Was more difficult when I saw at 4-1 that it's raining. I said, Not now, please.

But, you know, I cannot change anything. So I just stayed there and I was patient. And the rain stopped.

Q. Compared to what you had in the French Open last year against Stosur, how were the conditions today?
SIMONA HALEP: Was big difference, because in French Open was raining all the time when we played. So we started actually the match and was raining. I don't believe that it's a good thing.

But, no, is much different. I mean, the ball in French Open was very heavy. The court was wet. Here the court was perfect. I cannot compare.

Q. When you see a little bit of rain while you're playing, does that rush you? Are you trying to make a winner, like, quicker? Because maybe you want to do it, like, get it done very quickly?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I have enough experience. Maybe when I was younger I was doing this. When I saw that the rain is coming, maybe I was rushing a little bit. But now, no. Thinking just to calm down and just to play the same like I played before the rain.

Q. To make the final here, what do you think has been the key for you this week?
SIMONA HALEP: Confidence. I feel the game, as well. I'm fit. I have no problems, no injuries. I eat chocolate. So everything, it's nice. This is the key (smiling).

Q. How different was it -- I mean, last year you won Madrid and arrived in Rome. This year you won Madrid and arrived in Rome. How different was your mentality? What was the goal here when you arrived?
SIMONA HALEP: I can say that I'm really proud that I could change the thing from last year. Last year when I came here I was very upset that I have to play again.

This year when I came, I said that I have to play till the end. I really want. I was more motivated.

It was a good lesson last year, and I didn't want to repeat it. So it's a great feeling that I could continue winning. To be in the final here, it's great. I mean, after two times playing semifinals, now it's nice to play final. I wish to win, of course.

Q. I'm curious what means more to you in terms of thinking you're playing well: making deep runs in tournaments or getting one big win over another top player?
SIMONA HALEP: You talk about this year, no? Now?

Q. In general, any time.
SIMONA HALEP: In general, sometimes a win over a top player gives you confidence. Sometimes the work you do before the tournaments gives you confidence that you are ready to go.

Sometimes just winning some matches, tough ones, even if in three sets, those are the most important matches.

Sometimes you just feel good and you feel that let's play. I have this feeling now. I think gives me power to go on court and to believe that I can win.

Q. Sometimes you seem up psychologically. Some other times in the past, down psychologically. It depends very much on your mood, eh? Personally, I think that you should win all the clay tournaments, especially now that you're strong and the other girls, the top girls, are not so strong anymore. I'm talking about Kerber, Serena out, Pliskova plays better on other surface. This adds more pressure on you or not? It's something that you feel that you have to face somehow and it's a problem or good?
SIMONA HALEP: Of course I feel the pressure, but it's a positive pressure. I like to play with the pressure.

I like to think that I have the chance to win the matches. I like to go on court and to be responsible of myself. Of what I'm doing on court, I'm not thinking about what others do. I'm thinking just what I'm doing, to work hard every day, to keep everything the same, and when I go there to believe that I can win tournaments.

You said that I can win all the tournaments, but it's not easy.

Q. On clay.
SIMONA HALEP: On clay, okay. I take it, no problem (smiling).

It's not easy. Doesn't mean that if I play these two tournaments till the end I would play all of them. But I wish that, and I will keep working for that, for sure.

Q. You haven't faced a top 10 yet here and in Madrid yet, but you faced many clay court specialists and in-form players. Going into French Open, Grand Slam, is more important to you to face the bigger names or the players in form?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't think it matters against who you play Grand Slam. Every match is difficult, and everyone has the double desire to win every match, so I'm not thinking about that.

Most of the time some players that are not in top 10, they can play really well and they play well, so every match is tough, even the first round.

Q. Being you're Romanian, I'd like to know what is your opinion about all what has been involving Ilie Nastase? I know him probably more than you because I'm older. And if you think that Tiriac is right to say that he is not a racist, that sometimes he talks too much, he says things that he thinks are jokes, and maybe they are bad jokes. I would like to know what is your opinion if it's right to take him out, to leave him out from Wimbledon or other place. Since you know him, I think you have an idea.
SIMONA HALEP: I don't know if what is right and what is bad in this situation. I said about it from personal side, I respect Ilie for what he has done in tennis. He was first No. 1 and he is the best Romanian player.

Of course Mr. Tiriac is supporting him. They are very good friends, and they played together so many years. One thing I would like to say, I don't know Ilie that much like you know, like you said because I'm much younger, but he is not racist. He just does jokes, I don't know if are good or not, but he is not racist.

Q. Do you want to make a bet if you win the title you could sing "Yodel It!"? Do the yodel?
SIMONA HALEP: Oh, the yodel? No. I'm not a good singer, so, sorry.

Q. A little bit off that, what was Monica Niculescu like as a Fed Cup captain?
SIMONA HALEP: Nice. I was very upset that I didn't have the chance to be the captain in that tie.

Q. How did she win the election? It happened very quick.
SIMONA HALEP: She's perfect to be captain.

Q. Just talking about tomorrow, Muguruza or Svitolina, talk about both those matchups, please.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I think both of them are playing well now. On clay Muguruza is dangerous. She won French Open last year.

I played few times against her. On clay I think I beat her. She beat me on hard.

I expect a tough one. It's final, come on. It will be very difficult. You know, I believe that I have my chance even if they are confident, very confident now.

I am confident, too, so I have my chance. For sure, I will not give up. I will go through the match and I will fight for every ball.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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