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May 9, 2019

Simona Halep

Madrid, Spain

S. HALEP/A. Barty

7-5, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. You were up a break in both sets and you lost it, but you came back straightaway. So how pleased are you with the whole performance and staying consistent?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, for me, it's a huge victory. It's a huge match that I played today. It means a lot that I could win this match. I said yesterday that it's going to be different because it's clay court, so I expected a better chance for me to be honest, but still, it was very difficult and every point was important.

I tried to stay calm during the points because sometimes I force and I miss, but with her you have to keep the ball on court and try to mix also like she does.

Q. In the second set, when she broke you on that drop shot, the crazy drop shot, two of them she hit today that were a little nuts. In terms of staying calm and everything like that, I could see a situation where that would be a little rage-inducing?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I think you saw my (laughing) eyes. At that point, I was so frustrated, but I knew that she does these things because she is very handy and she is very talented, so I expected those balls.

But it was so important, the moment, so I got a little bit upset. But then I said it was just one point and I have to start the new game.

I think I was pretty good with attitude. I was positive and I didn't give up any point.

She's a very, very good player and I had to stay like this to be able to win.

Q. I asked this to Petra yesterday. You seem like an introvert, but you've had to do a lot of press and speak to a lot of people. Do you still consider yourself shy?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I'm much better, honestly (laughing). I'm much better. I enjoy now the time I spend in the press and also with the people. I open myself more and I feel actually better. I enjoy more. So it's a good thing and I'm sure that this sport made me to be a better person.

Q. You said all week that you didn't have much expectation here. You were a bit under the weather. Now back in to the semifinals with some good wins. Talk about what you take out of the week so far to make it so deep, get these wins while maybe not feeling 100 percent physically.
SIMONA HALEP: I'm not yet 100 percent. I have one more day for the treatment to take, so the energy's not 100 percent but, as we see, I played very well. Maybe because I was relaxed and I had no expectations. It is always like this.

To play semifinals here, it's a very good result for me coming after that disappointment in Fed Cup. But every time I come here, I said many times I'm motivated and I enjoy the time. I like the courts, I like the altitude. So, many friends are coming, family's here, so it's much easier for me to feel relaxed and to feel happy on court. So when I'm happy on court I can play my best tennis.

Q. Next you face Naomi or Belinda, tough matches either way. Can you talk about the challenge of playing each opponent?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. Both of them are very tough. I expect a really difficult match, but it's semifinals, so I cannot complain. It's normal to play with the top players. Against Naomi it's going to be a challenge. We never played together after she won two Grand Slams and became No. 1, so she's a different level, let's say.

And I'm really curious how it's going to be, a match against her. I know it's going to be tough. It's a big challenge for me, so I play with someone better ranked than me. It's going to be a good game for sure.

Against Belinda, I played in Dubai. I lost against her, but I was leading the match so it's very open and on clay, it is going to be different. We never played I think on clay court so I feel confident here. I like clay, so I believe I have the chance to win, but also it's going to be a tough challenge, so we will see tomorrow.

Q. You said yesterday that it's back to working out 100 percent. I'm curious how much more is that than at the beginning of the year? To me, to us, like chilling is being on the beach somewhere and not moving. To you it is almost beating Serena at the Australian Open?
SIMONA HALEP: Chilling means not putting the pressure to win a tournament or to have a great result (laughing). I cannot go on the beach because I'm a professional tennis player and I still have to be on the court, but one daily go to the beach for sure (smiling).

I played I think tough matches. I lost a few and I lost those matches maybe because I was not 100 percent. I was too much in the chilling position. But now I'm back, I feel good, and I feel motivated again to win tournaments.

Q. Is it as much mental as physical?
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, it is mental. Physical I have done all the work every day, so I didn't skip any day, but mentally, it's tough to stay there.

Q. Over the course of the last few seasons, your results on clay have made you the queen of clay during this section of the season, at least that is how a lot of the players see you as the one that is the most best and consistent on the surface. Do you take confidence or extra swagger, or does the way that other people see you on this surface give you any extra motivation or confidence?
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, that's true. I get extra motivation from this week, seeing that the people are really believing that I am very good on clay and all the statistics say that.

I don't put pressure when the clay court season is coming. I'm the happiest person in the world. I had great results in the four or five years so I don't feel fear when I start the season. I just go there and try to see if I'm still good enough to have great result on clay.

Q. What is your biggest memory of David Ferrer and did he inspire you as a player?
SIMONA HALEP: The best moment in tennis for me?

Q. For David Ferrer, he retired from tennis, your best memory of him?
SIMONA HALEP: Every time I seen him on court he was working so much for every ball, running, so we are similar in that direction. He's a very nice person. Great personality. And I am a bit sad that he has to retire, but he has done a lot in tennis and now it's time to enjoy life. Seeing him, like, fighting for every match inspired me as a kid and also as a player, a professional player now.

Q. Did he ever give you any advice or anything?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I didn't have the chance to talk with him like that. Just hello and stuff. Easy stuff. But he inspires many kids and many people with the way he's on court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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