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January 22, 2018

Simona Halep

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

S. HALEP/N. Osaka

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was it nice to have a much shorter match today?
SIMONA HALEP: Oh, yeah. It was much better (smiling).

Yeah, it was way better match today. I'm really happy that I could find the rhythm back because is not easy when you are very tired. But I knew what I have to do, and I did it very well.

Q. What has your last 48 hours been like since the Davis match in terms of recovery?
SIMONA HALEP: First day after the match was pretty okay. Last night was really tough. I couldn't sleep. I had pain everywhere. But I slept before the match two hours, and worked perfect, perfect hours. I was, like, fresh after that. I felt good.

Ankle is still sore. But, you know, I'm not thinking about that any more. I saw that I can win matches with it, so now I'm not that checkaudio any more.

Q. You seemed to move quite well around the court compared to your two previous matches. Is the ankle becoming more manageable or improving or turning a corner?
SIMONA HALEP: Improving? I'm not sure because I'm running a lot. Maybe I get used to the pain and I'm not thinking that much that something can happen. Just taking every point. I'm trying to play 100%, which I was close today, to run normal and to run a lot.

But I still feel it. It's there, but I can handle it.

Q. You just said you know what you should do today and you did it. Can you explain what things you did.
SIMONA HALEP: First thing that I did very well was that I stayed every ball there. I knew that she can come back. She did two times in a row when I played against her when I won the first set. I knew that every ball is important. If I take the lead in the second set more, then I'm going to break her a little bit physically and also mentally. So I did it well.

Also about the game, I moved her. I stayed there. I tried just not to miss that much. I tried also to push her back, which I did. She couldn't dominate the game. I did, I dominated. I went to the net a lot. I finished the point when I felt that it's time.

Q. What do you think of her game? Do you think she's a star of the future?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I think so. I always said that also when I played against her in the past. She's very young. She's very powerful. She looks very calm on court, which helps the player a lot.

Yeah, I see her very good player in the future. She is already.

Q. On the court you said you didn't expect to make the quarterfinals because of your injury. What did you expect?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually I didn't expect to do quarterfinals. I didn't expect also to stop the tournament, even if I was injured. I had nothing clear in my head. I just went on court, take match by match.

The match against Davis was huge for me, maybe gave me a little bit more confidence that my body is okay and I can resist to the tough matches. Now I'm more confident.

Q. What are you planning to do after this tournament about your ankle? Take medical treatment?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't know. I have to see when I finish here. Then for sure I will have some days off. I need to check it again, to do MRI. If I could play at this level, looks like is nothing broken. I checked it before, and is nothing broken. Just the ligaments are very stretched.

I think I need only treatment and days off.

Q. When is your next tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: Next tournament planned is St. Petersburg, but we will see.

Q. Did you see any change in Naomi's play style today?
SIMONA HALEP: I felt that she's moving better, more energy, and positive. She's positive. Even if I was leading the match, she was positive.

Q. Maybe the sixth game in the first set is the key. After that did you feel she got a little bit down or did you raise up your level?
SIMONA HALEP: Honestly, I don't remember those points.

I felt, and I know, was close at 3-2, 3-All, something like that. Yeah, after I took that game and those balls, I felt more confident. I felt that now I can push the pedal and just go through the match.

Q. After the Davis match, and you got a chance to sit with your team, what were those conversations like?
SIMONA HALEP: Darren told me that he's very proud that I could stay there and play very long match. Also he said that even if I would have lost it, would have been very, very nice job.

Yeah, they were proud of me. They were also happy that I didn't give up one point. I think that's the most important thing that I improved in the last period. I just want to work on it more.

Q. There were a lot of videos circulating of Darren's reaction in the box.
SIMONA HALEP: I saw that, but I did it today. I went to the swing volley many times. So he's happy now.

Q. Next match doesn't get much easier, Pliskova, Strycova.
SIMONA HALEP: Of course, is not easier because is quarterfinals in a Grand Slam. Now it's like getting harder and harder. I played against them. I know how it's going to be. It's going to be a new match, different match. I will watch a little bit because these days I really watch a lot of tennis at the TV.

Just I don't want to think about the match now. I have one more day off. I will have time to think about it. I'm just here to enjoy and to try to win, nothing else.

Q. In the past did you ever watch your future opponents? Is this something that Darren has you doing, to do your homework?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really. I didn't watch because I didn't like. But now I'm more relaxed. I try to learn from each player something. Also I watched a lot of men's matches.

I'm not watching because they are my opponents, next opponents. I'm just watching because I like to watch. It's nothing special. Darren didn't tell me to watch. Just came natural.

Q. With Pliskova and Strycova, you've played a lot of power players coming into the quarterfinals, would you rather play Pliskova or...
SIMONA HALEP: Well, both of them are very tough. Even if I played with big hitters this tournament, Pliskova is always dangerous. She's playing great these days. I'm used to her. I played in Thailand, as well. Like I said, is going to be new match. You never know what's going to happen.

With Strycova, I played a few times. Was tough because I have to run a lot, I have to make the point.

So I'm looking forward to playing the quarterfinals again, third time maybe is with luck, and I can go through, but we will see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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