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March 11, 2018

Simona Halep

Indian Wells, California

S. HALEP/C. Dolehide

1-6, 7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously a tough one. Not very many players play like her. Just in terms of problem-solving in that match, how do you think you turned that around?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, yeah, she's playing really, really well. And I never played against her, so I didn't know how the ball is coming.

Was pretty tough in the first set. I played too flat and too fast. So then I just tried to miss less and also to make her move a little bit, to roll the ball better. In the end, I think I was stronger on the legs. Also, you know, when I had to finish the point, I did.

I'm really, really happy about this victory. Was tough down there. And many, like, respect to her, because she's playing really good tennis.

Q. I was going to say, can you talk a little bit about her game? What made her so dangerous today?
SIMONA HALEP: The spin, definitely. The forehand is pretty strong. I was hitting the return like, high, yeah, very high, and was really tough to return those serves. At the backhand side, on the left side, I couldn't make a point. Was really tough. Her game is pretty strong. It's very powerful.

Q. How much did you kind of tap into just the confidence of -- you have only lost one match this year. You know, you're playing well. But, you know, in that second set it was getting a bit tight and a little tough. Did you tap into the confidence factor?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I didn't give up, which is the most important thing. I never thought that I will lose the match. I just wanted to stay there and to see what is happening.

I'm really proud that I could manage this match. It was really tough. And for second match of the tournament was amazing match, amazing level, in my opinion.

Q. Is this a match that you feel like you might have won a year ago or two years ago as it started to get really tough in that second set?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I don't know what to say, but probably not. Now I'm different. I'm stronger mentally, and I think that thing helped me to stay and to, you know, to not giving up in the second set and to believe till the end.

Q. When you called Darren in, I think it was 3-2, what did he have to say?
SIMONA HALEP: I think you know, no? (Smiling).

He told me how to play a little bit and how to return, because the serve was really strong and I couldn't find the place where to stay.

I just mix it. He told me to mix. Also to go in front a little bit. Go back. So stuff like this. And help me a lot to find the rhythm and to find a way to play against her, because the flat game and the fast game was not good against her.

Q. A lot of times when we talk about wins or comebacks it about the mentality and about the fight, but it sounds like today was about the tactics, about actually solving how to play her. Do you think that's right?
SIMONA HALEP: I think both things were very important today. The first is not giving up, and the second that I was fighting to try to find the rhythm and to try to find the right game against her, which I did. And I think this is the best thing that I will take from this match, not that much the victory. The thing that I found what I have to play, and I came back was more important.

Q. Is that something you enjoy? Kind of that process of solving an opponent?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I enjoy a lot (smiling). Makes me more confident and makes me like feeling happy that I'm able to find the game that I have to play in the match.

Q. Next one is Qiang Wang, the Chinese player. I think you played her before.
SIMONA HALEP: I don't believe. I practice with her a few days ago here. She's a tough opponent. She's playing well. I expect a really tough one. Different than today, obviously, but, you know, I'm ready. I feel okay. So I will do everything I can just to win the match.

Q. This is one of those tournaments where there can be a lot of, like, sponsor obligations. The first week can be a little bit busy with things. I'm curious that now the first week is over for you, has it felt busy or relaxing in Indian Wells?
SIMONA HALEP: Was not relaxed, but was okay. At the beginning of the week I had many things to do, but now I'm okay. I have done everything.

Now I have just to play, and I hope to play till the end.

Q. It seems like the word "proud" is coming up a lot in your pressers when you're describing your results. What does that feel like to you inside to be able to make those statements and know you've backed it up?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I use that word because gives me more, like, credit. I haven't used that word before because I was tougher with myself. So now I'm trying to change that, to be kinder with myself. That's why I use that word.

And also, I really believe that I had also today a lot of credit to change the game and to be able to stay for every point there, even if she was a little bit dominating me in the first set, for sure, and second set a little bit.

Yeah, that's why I just give credit to myself and gives me confidence for the next days.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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