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June 4, 2018

Simona Halep

Paris, France

S. HALEP/E. Mertens

6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. How happy are you with that performance today to get yourself back into the quarters?
SIMONA HALEP: Very happy, actually. I think it was a great match, and the way I played gives me confidence that I did everything well until now. It's never easy to play against her. I played in Madrid and I felt that she's very aggressive. She wants to play fast, so I think today I did the same thing.

I was a little bit stronger in the important moments. Those four games at the beginning were really important, and after that I relax myself and I could play a little bit better.

Q. Madison Keys said that the whole point of the first week is to survive and get to the second week, and in the second week that's when the real nerves come in, eyes on the prize. Do you agree with that? Is that the case for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Honestly, I didn't think about this. I take every match day the same; doesn't matter if it's the first week or the second week. But what is true is that in the second week you get used to the tournament and to the nerves, as well.

In my opinion, I relaxed a little bit after the first week. So every player is different, but both weeks are special.

Q. You mentioned on court afterwards wanting to be more aggressive and shorten the points. Would that also help you with your mental approach if you have to spend less time analyzing and finishing points quicker, a conscious effort?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I don't do that for my mental. I think it's good to be able to play both ways; also when you play longer rallies, also when you play shorter rallies.

I said that I just want to be more aggressive, because the tennis is like that now. I don't have that much power, but if I play fast I feel like I improve a little bit more in my game, and that's the plan.

But you have also to adjust yourself to the opponents when they are playing different, like today, or like someone that is defending better.

Q. It's been a while since a Romanian has won a Grand Slam, I think 40 years ago here in Paris. How much pressure do you feel from your country to deliver another Grand Slam?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I don't feel the pressure from my country. I feel that they really want it, but I take it positive. I feel their support. I'm thinking about winning a Grand Slam, but I don't know if it's gonna happen this year or in this life (smiling).

So I'm working for that. Every day I'm trying just to get better, tournament by tournament, year by year. I hope I will get enough mature to win a Grand Slam in the future, but for the moment, I just want to enjoy this win, this tournament, and then we will see.

Q. When you win a match 6-2, 6-1, people report that that was an easy match. But how does it feel to you out on the court? Does it feel easy? Do you feel in control? Do you still have challenges on the court?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, of course I still have challenges on the court, because even if you win with the score easy, if you lead many games ahead, it's not about that you won already the match, so you have to stay focused for every ball, for every point. And at this level no one gives up at the beginning. So you have to stay there for everything and to give everything every moment.

It was not that easy, like the score shows. All the games were tough. She's a tough opponent. I had to pay attention of every ball we played.

Q. If you play the next match against Caroline Garcia, what do you think about this match and what do you think about her, about Caroline?
SIMONA HALEP: I played against her in Rome. I know how she's playing. I know what I have to play against her. Every day is different. Every match is different. So I will expect a tough one. She's confident. She's home. I expect that she's gonna play well.

But my job is just to give my best every day, and to believe that I can win the match. So I will be confident.

Q. The No. 1 ranking has changed several times over the last year or so.
SIMONA HALEP: You think (smiling)?

Q. And I believe it's sort of up for grabs again during Roland Garros with yourself in a position to hold on to it. How much of a distraction is that still for you...
SIMONA HALEP: In this moment it's zero. It was before because I really wanted to get there, but now my goals are different.

Q. Can you talk a little about Kasatkina's game? In a sense, do you think, does it resemble your own? Is it like your own, similar to your kind of play, Kasatkina's game?
SIMONA HALEP: We are both short, so that's for sure (smiling).

I think she's playing with more spin, different game a little bit, but we both run.

There are some similar things. I cannot say we are similar, because I don't see that well these things. I feel like we can run forever on court, and we both fight till the end.

Q. You talk a lot about nerves, spoke about it on court, speak about it here. Is it because you're more open to speak about it than the other players or because you're more nervous than the other players?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't know how the other players are before the matches, but I think I am very nervous before every match, and this is because I am like this. So I'm not going to fight with myself about that.

But I try to improve this thing, and I try to enjoy my nerves, because they are special when you play Grand Slams.

Q. What do you expect from the big match later today between Serena and Sharapova?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't say, because I don't know how you guys take it (smiling).

But I will watch it. I told Darren that for sure I would go and I will watch.

Q. You don't know what to expect?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't want to say. I expect something, but I don't say (smiling).

Q. Against a French player like Caroline, is it possible to win the heart of the public, the crowd of Philippe Chatrier, for example?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, if I will play against her, for sure it's gonna be a very nice atmosphere there. But I'm confident that I will have my supporters there. Anyway, it's going to be a quarterfinal match, so I will just be focused on myself. Nothing else.

Q. Without dampening anyone's spirits, there is also a chance you might play Kerber in the quarterfinals. You have had a very tough battle obviously in Australia and tough battles before. How would you look at that match if it came to pass?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's every time it's a tough match, and every time I expect the same. I'm ready mentally. I'm ready physically. I'm ready to face this challenge, and I'm ready to enjoy it.

I think that I have learned in the past that I have to enjoy more, and to be thankful that I am in that position and that I have the possibility to give everything I have, so I will do that.

Q. Some tennis fans and some people in the media are now saying that you are the favorite to win here at Roland Garros. How does that make you feel?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I feel good when I hear that, but also, I will keep my line that it's very far to think about the title. I have an important match Wednesday, so all my focus is on that one, so then we will see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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