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January 20, 2018
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
S. HALEP/L. Davis
4-6, 6-4, 15-13
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Congratulations on the victory. Tell us about what you were telling yourself in the third set and how you mentally get through a game like that that was just a marathon.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, definitely it was a very tough match. It's the only one match that I played like this.
You know, I was down also Love-40. She had three match balls. It was not easy, but I just kept playing. I just kept believing that it's not over, even if she's leading a little bit more.
I gave everything I had today, and actually, I'm really proud that I could stay there and win it. It was not easy at all. She played great.
Q. If you're looking back a year or two years ago, do you think you would have had that same kind of mental fortitude?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I think now I'm much stronger. Mentally, of course, I was talking a lot during the match. And yeah, I was a little bit frustrated because of the leg. I felt the pain all match, but I didn't give up.
For sure I'm stronger mentally, and I could resist like for every moment in the match. That makes me very happy, and I think the big win is that I could handle it.
Q. How are you feeling now?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually, I'm okay. I had the massage. That's why I'm late. I'm sorry. I'm tired, of course, but I'm positive because I won it.
If I would have lost it, I would have been very sad, but now I have energy, I have good thoughts. I'm okay.
Q. What goes through the head of a player who is in such a grueling match and suddenly finds herself Love-40 and having to save three match points in a row? How do you cope with that?
SIMONA HALEP: Honestly, I thought it's over at that moment, but was good because I relax my arm and I serve pretty well those three balls.
And then she took the medical. I had time to calm down. I had come to believe again, to restart the mind.
And also I found more energy after that three minutes' break. But at 13-All when I took the game, I said it's my lucky number. So it's going to be two in a row now (smiling).
Q. Was that as exciting to play as it was to watch or not?
SIMONA HALEP: I think was very bad for my team actually, because they were there every point, but they were supporting me crazy today, and I really appreciate that. It's exciting to have matches like that, but not easy.
Q. Lauren Davis said that she looks up to you and that she thinks you play similar games. What do you think about her game and how she performed today compared...
SIMONA HALEP: I think today she played the highest level in tennis, and her backhand was just too good sometimes. She was moving very fast. She was moving well. I knew that. But I played against her in Indian Wells a few years ago, and it was easier, the score and the match. But she improved a lot, and I can say that she's a great athlete and also player.
She stayed there mentally strong, so many, many congrats to her.
Q. How was the ankle?
SIMONA HALEP: It's sore. I felt the pain. It's not recovered. It's impossible to recover after. After this match I think tomorrow is gonna be worse, but I just push, push myself, and we will see what's gonna happen.
Q. What have you been doing between matches so far?
SIMONA HALEP: Nothing.
Q. Nothing tomorrow, I guess?
SIMONA HALEP: Nothing tomorrow, for sure (smiling).
Q. Would you have preferred a tiebreak for the final set or are you happy with as many games...
SIMONA HALEP: I think is my first match playing over 6, the third set in a Grand Slam, because just here we have it.
Yeah, maybe it's easier for the players, because the match is finished faster. Doesn't matter which way. But it's also exciting to keep playing so many games in a row, so it was a nice experience for me, and that I could win it's even better.
Q. Do you worry it may give your opponent an advantage in the next round?
SIMONA HALEP: It's tough to think about that (smiling). I don't know against who I will play, but for sure I have time to recover. I have one day off, so the problem is just ankle for the moment, nothing else. We will see how it's gonna be.
Q. Is this the type of match in the past you would have been maybe yelling at yourself and more emotional, whatever? You seemed to hold your calm very well.
SIMONA HALEP: I think in the past I wouldn't have fought that hard. Maybe when she had the match balls, maybe I would have lost it.
But now I improved in that way and it makes me really happy that I change myself in a good way.
Q. We see new faces in the draw this year in Australia who could make a breakthrough. What do you think, for instance, about Mertens who won a title in Hobart and is now progressing here?
SIMONA HALEP: I know her since last year or two years ago when she was winning matches in a row, and I saw her playing. I thought that she's a very dangerous player and very good athlete, as well.
I think she can play very high level, and for sure she's gonna make good results in the future.
Q. Thoughts on your next match against either Ash or Naomi?
SIMONA HALEP: You still want me to think about tennis now (smiling)?
SIMONA HALEP: Osaka. Oh, well, different players. Osaka is hitting strong, so strong. I have to be strong, if I can, on my legs, and just stay there, playing fast, opening the court, as I do all the time.
And Barty, I know she's very talented. She's playing very well at the net, as well. I don't actually know exactly how she's playing, so I will have time to watch her.
For sure it's a tough match. I'm not thinking the result. I just want to get ready to play with my legs.
Q. Is there any risk of your legs not letting you progress next week?
SIMONA HALEP: For sure I will go on court, but I don't know how it's gonna be. The doctor said that the risk is there because it's an injury, but I believe that it's gonna be fine.
Q. Since wearing the red dress, you had it tailor made for you...
SIMONA HALEP: Is good, huh?
Q. It's a new season. Do you feel like that dress is kind of a lucky dress for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, actually is coming from China, and China I always did great results. Maybe I should keep it for more. I will see in the future how it's gonna be.
I like the dress. I like the cut, so I feel great in it and I'm happy I could win so many matches in it.
Q. You said you don't want to think about tennis right now. What do you want to think about?
SIMONA HALEP: Some sleep, some chocolate, and actually hot chocolate I will have after.
Q. Lauren is a small player. She uses her speed, her defense, has a good backhand. When you're playing her, do you ever get a sense of, Hey, this is a little bit like I play? This is how I drive others?
SIMONA HALEP: Finally I had a shorter opponent than me (smiling). It was, yeah, it was a nice feeling, but as I said many times, she was moving really well and her backhand short-cross was amazing. I didn't have reactions for those shots, but still I thought my backhand is strong enough to go there and to hit some down-the-lines.
I didn't do much today, but she was very aggressive. She defenses very well, and she also comes to the net. She's a great player. Today she played amazing.
Q. And on match point, you said you managed to relax. That's a pretty good accomplishment considering what was at stake. How did you manage to relax yourself out there?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's much better if we compare the old Simona with the new Simona. I'm just trying to change myself to not think that much about the points.
It's really tough when you have, when the opponent has match ball. It's really tough to think about the tactic anymore, about how to play the next point. You just go there and hit like without thinking. I did that, and I think she was a little bit tired at that moment. The pressure was on, also, and I was a little bit stronger in that moment, for sure.
Q. This is the first time you have saved three match points from Love-40 and gone on to win.
SIMONA HALEP: Is first time...
Q. You saved match points from Love-40, three in a row.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, many first times today. Yeah, I'm really, really proud of that, and I just say that this match meant a lot for me. Doesn't matter what is gonna happen now. I say that it's a big win in many ways, and I take it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports