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ROLAND GARROS


June 6, 2018


Simona Halep


Paris, France

S. HALEP/A. Kerber

6-7, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. I want to go back a little bit, the first set of that match. Could you take us back to the serving at 0-4 game and what holding that meant to you?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it was a tough start. I think I missed too much. I wanted actually to do too much in the match. It was tough because her ball is very low, and you don't have many chances to finish the points from there.

Actually, I want to forget those games (smiling) because was not exactly what I wanted to play at the beginning, but just didn't feel it. Then I change it and it was much better.

Now I think I am pretty sure how I have to play against her next time.

Q. Basically, the key when you play a defender, patience and choose the right ball to attack and not rush too much?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, exactly. I rushed too much at the beginning. And as I said, it's really tough to return her ball, because it's very low. Sometimes short, sometimes deep. So you don't know every time.

Then I just try to play with more spin, open the court, and to move her.

Q. You two played probably the best match of the year against each other in Australia. How does that change your anticipation of today's match? Did it make you more excited for it or nervous about what it's going to be? How does that feel?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really excited, because always we play long matches and many rallies every point.

So it's tough against her, but it's even nicer and better after I win a match against her. Shows me that I have enough patience, I have enough power inside to stay calm and just to play what I have to play against her. Because you have to be like maybe at your highest level to beat her.

Q. Even though you lost the first set, it felt at the end like you were in the match. At what point do you feel in the second set that you started getting the upper hand? When you chased down the dropshot? Was it 3-4 maybe? That one?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I remember. Actually, I think Angelique is not giving up at all until the last point. I felt her a little bit tired in the end, but I knew that I have to stay there and still pushing, being aggressive.

So I didn't think about one particular point. Just I wanted to play every point is like the last one.

So I think I did a great job in the end.

Q. I want to know, what does it mean when you look at your box and you say something like this (pushing hands up)?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't tell you. Come on. This is my things. Sorry. (Laughter.)

Q. The pointing to the head after match point, can you explain why you did that?
SIMONA HALEP: Because it was really about the mental. And also physical, for sure, but mental I was strong.

And after losing that set, when I came back it was a little bit tough, but I stayed there. I stayed focused. I never gave up. So I think that's why I won today. My head won it.

Q. You have a very different opponent in GarbiƱe Muguruza. I guess you can't get away with a slower, nervous start as you did today. What are your thoughts on what you need to do in the semifinal?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it was not really slow today. Just wrong tactic and I started just to hit every ball. So I don't take it as a slow start. I was fired up at the beginning, so is no problem.

Of course, it's a different match tomorrow. I have to expect some hard points, power. So we will see. I have no idea now in this moment, because I want to enjoy the quarterfinals.

And tomorrow, for sure, before the practice, I will think about the match.

Q. During a Grand Slam, how do you find the balance between being calm and relaxed and being intense?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, the experience. I think it's really important, and so many years I played at this level.

Now it feels normal a little bit. Feels like I'm used to it. Of course it's special every time to play a semis in Grand Slam.

Here also in Paris, I like this place, so I feel good. I feel cool.

And I'm expecting tomorrow a tough one, but I'm expecting also to give everything I have again to take my chance.

Q. We have said that at Roland Garros there have been a few matches where you have lost the first set and then the next two sets you have been really impressive. So at the end of the first set, what do you think about? What do you say to yourself? How do you approach the game in a new way?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, after I lost the first set, I just had in my mind that if I came back from 0-4, feels like the rhythm is there. So I know what I have to play, to continue playing for the next set. And when I broke her first game, I felt more confident and I felt I have the game in my hands.

So I just have to be calm and keep trying.

Q. You mentioned experience. What do you know about playing in a Grand Slam semifinal now that you didn't know maybe before your first one here four years ago?
SIMONA HALEP: It's still very emotional and very nice moment. I will enjoy 100%. It's a great result. Even if I played few times here semifinals, it's special. So I will take it, I will enjoy it.

And I try just tomorrow to make a nice match. Just this is in my mind now.

Q. How do you describe the level of pressure that you're putting on yourself now compared to maybe in the past?
SIMONA HALEP: I have no pressure. I played well this tournament. Every match was better and better. I had tough opponents. Tomorrow I face another one.

So I have also no expectations, no pressure. I just want to play as I did today, and as I did every day. If I do that, I will be okay after the match, no matter the result.

Q. So what was the wrong tactic today, and what proved the right tactic?
SIMONA HALEP: The wrong tactic that I missed everything (smiling). And the right tactic was that I didn't miss any more (smiling).

Well, I just changed that. I didn't play flat anymore, more topspin, and I made her run a little bit more. So I think that was important.

Q. Looking ahead a little bit to tomorrow's match, what is the biggest challenge that she's posing? Is it that she's taking time away from you on the court because she's so aggressive, or what do you feel is the biggest challenge of playing her for you?
SIMONA HALEP: You talk about tomorrow, right?

Q. Yes.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she's playing fast with everyone. So doesn't matter who is playing against. She does her game.

So I have just to stay strong, to try to make her uncomfortable on court, and to try to play my game.

It's not many things, like, to discuss about this match. It's a style that has everything. She's a great player. She was in this position. She won this tournament.

So tomorrow is going to be a big challenge for me.

Q. You have told us you are learning to embrace all your emotions on the court and enjoy it. We're enjoying watching you play.
SIMONA HALEP: That's nice.

Q. Do you think if you keep smiling you can keep winning?
SIMONA HALEP: I hope so (smiling). It's not that tough if I keep smiling. If I win, it's nice. But even if I don't win, I will keep smiling.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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