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October 7, 2017

Simona Halep

Beijing, China

S. HALEP/J. Ostapenko

6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you describe to us a little bit about how you were feeling during the second set today.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I can say that was a little bit of pressure in the second set. But I was not worried. I felt that I was dominating the match and I was controlling everything.

I knew how I have to play against her. I lost in French Open. I knew that I was leading there. So I just did my plan, my game, and I did it pretty well.

Of course, in the end, the last point, my legs were shaking. It's normal. But this time I was more controlled and I did it great.

Q. A set and a break up, three games away, get broken. It felt like, Uh-oh, here we go again. What do you think was the difference today?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I didn't think too much that I am again in the same position. In French Open I was a set and 3-0, so here was a little bit different. Still she played really well those games, those next games.

Like I said, I was not worried. I just tried to stay focused, to not going back, to not going too farther from the baseline. I tried just to block all the balls and to hit the balls.

For sure the serve was maybe the best thing today during the whole match. I think mentally I was different, and that's why I could win the match.

Q. Speaking of the serve this week, also going back to Miami, kind of the change in mentality, the changes have happened fairly quickly from when you identify an issue and fix it. How proud are you of that over the course of this year?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, yeah, I can say I'm proud of this because I really accepted that I have an issue. I was working hard on it. Of course, all the people around me help me a lot. One very special lady told me how to do, how to change myself, so thank you to her. Also my team, they always believed that I can change myself. I started to believe, as well. So this is I think the most important thing, just to believe that you can change something to yourself, which I did.

Now I just want to remain the same and, of course, to get stronger because today I had some few moments a bit nervous.

Q. You made so many revenges here in China Open. I notice in China your serve is much better than before. From your perspective, what is really new for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, definitely this tournament I will never forget for two things. One thing which was, in my opinion, in this moment little bit more important, that I won against Sharapova. I lost too many times against her before. So here I just broke that line.

And second, that I could win against Ostapenko after a very tough match in the Grand Slam final. And being No. 1 makes it very special. Even if I didn't play my best tennis in China so far, this year was great.

My serve was better because I worked harder after US Open. That match was very tough one for myself. But I took it like a strong thing and just came back and worked harder every day, and stayed more on court to serve more balls. This week I did it great.

Q. You appeared a little bit emotional and you admitted as much afterwards. What were the thoughts behind the emotion and the tears?
SIMONA HALEP: Just that the dream, my dream, is true now. In that moment you cannot believe hundred percent that it's happening. So, yeah, I was in tears a little bit. Maybe first time on court nice tears, because otherwise, yeah, I had some.

I cannot describe what I felt. Of course, it's the best moment in my life, and I want just to keep it. Now tomorrow already I have just to restart everything, to start again to play the same and to work harder.

And I have few more dreams in my career.

Q. What are your dreams?
SIMONA HALEP: I tell you one, only one. To win a Grand Slam, which you know (laughter).

Q. We have had five different world No. 1 players this year including you. Do you talk to yourself everything to stay longer?
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, for sure. But in this moment, I just want to be happy because I'm there. Doesn't matter how long I will stay. Of course, it's one of the dreams, to stay longer there, to not affect myself too much. I don't want to get relaxed.

Of course, it's a great thing. Many others did it, and I'm one of them. I'm really happy about that. But I'm in the middle of my career, so I have many years ahead. I just want to stay the same, focused, and do my job.

Q. Now you are the 25th player to win the world No. 1. Before this tournament I asked you whether it was your goal to become world No. 1. You said you were not worried about it any more. Now you won it. What does this achievement mean to you and how will you celebrate it?
SIMONA HALEP: Of course, I wanted it (smiling). When I was five points away, I felt that I want it more and more. I try just to not think too much about that, to stop thinking, because you feel the pressure when you're thinking too much.

This tournament, I just came here to do my job. At the beginning I didn't feel great. Even in Wuhan I was a little bit sick with my stomach. But I came here very motivated.

So I'm in this position now, and I cannot say much. I have to say just that I feel it in my stomach now. I just want to keep this feeling because it's nice.

Q. Looking ahead to your next match.
SIMONA HALEP: Good question (smiling).

Q. You will play Petra Kvitova or Caroline Garcia. How will you prepare yourself?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, today for sure I will not think about that. Tomorrow morning before my practice, like I did every day here, I will talk to my team about the tactic and about how I have to play.

I know both of them. I know that they are very strong opponents. They hit very strong the balls. They stay close to the lines.

I have to just think about the match against Sharapova, today against Ostapenko, because they play similar. So I just want to, again, go there and take the match, not the result.

I'm looking forward to it.

Q. How would you say this moment has changed your impression about China?
SIMONA HALEP: I always thought that I like China because I have great fans here. Every time I had great crowd, like today, was amazing.

It's just because it's different a little bit the food and everything. That's why I was not playing maybe my best tennis. But it's never late. So I'm here. I did great. Now I enjoy more the time here in China.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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