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August 14, 2019

Simona Halep

Cincinnati, Ohio

S. HALEP/E. Alexandrova

3-6, 7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was going through your mind at 5-4 in the second?
SIMONA HALEP: Nothing, really. Just that I have to stay still in the match because I still have a chance.

So I knew that she's gonna play really, really well, and she did. But I didn't give up, and I'm very pleased with that.

Q. It was quite close pretty much throughout those last three games. Do you feel like you stepped up?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I was a little bit more aggressive, but not as much as I wanted because I was not feeling great. After injury is always tough. You are a bit scared.

But I think I played much better in the end. She kept the rhythm and the level of her game very high today the whole match. So I needed something extra to finish it to be well.

Q. Physically you're feeling okay?
SIMONA HALEP: I am okay. No pain.

Q. You said on Tennis Channel it took maybe a set until you felt like you could sprint and run like you wanted to. Was there a certain point you played where you felt, My foot is okay?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I didn't analyze just one point. I felt slowly that I'm feeling good and I have no pain.

I got the confidence game by game, even if she was leading me. I still thought that there is a chance to win, and I have just to fight.

Q. When Darren is with you at a tournament, is it just kind of that he helps you on the court? I know you talk about him generally like having his support, but when he is working alongside the team at a tournament, is it any different than otherwise, than it used to be last year, let's say?
SIMONA HALEP: He's not in the box. He's not in the team. But he gives me advice. He tells me what I have to play. He talks with my team. He's a real good friend.

Q. Madison or Daria next, two different opponents. Individually what makes them difficult for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Two very different styles. Keys is hitting really strong, the ball, and is playing flatter. A lot of power.

Kasatkina is the other way. She has a lot of topspin. She moves the ball a little bit more on the court.

So it's difficult and different plans for them. I will think about it a little bit later today after I will see against who I play.

Q. I saw you went to a famous ribs restaurant last night. Do you attribute that to your victory?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I will go again if that's the case (smiling). The ribs were great, unbelievable good. But I couldn't finish it because I was a little bit worried about today, not having the stomach very full. But it was a great dinner, and I will go back there, for sure.

Q. You have been here a couple of years, but I'm curious what you make of the surroundings. I don't know of any other tournament where there is a huge amusement park in the background. A big Eiffel Tower, a roller coaster. Curious what you make of that while you're practicing or during a match? Something catches your eye?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really. When I go on court, it's just the court. But it's nice atmosphere here, and you have things to do.

I'm thinking these days to go to the park even if I'm not going on the roller coaster anymore. I have been once and was enough. I will go with the team, because they love it. So I will spend some time there, have fun.

Q. A quick question about the bye system, like having top seeds getting byes into the second round. Obviously you have had that for a long time now, but when you were a lower-ranked player and didn't have a bye and started transitioning into getting a bye, do you like it? Do you like having a bye? Is it always good? Are there disadvantages to top players when they have a bye?
SIMONA HALEP: Definitely is not always good, because you start the tournament late and your opponent has a match already. You don't have the same level, the same rhythm as the opponent.

But sometimes when you're tired, it's good. When you have a lot of matches before, it's good to have one extra day off.

So it's in the middle. It's okay (smiling). I take it.

Q. Are there any thoughts that go through your head with whoever wins this tournament? The top 3 will take over the No. 1 spot again going into the US Open?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I'm not thinking about that. Doesn't matter who is gonna be No. 1 in US Open.

I think it matters to feel good, to be healthy when you start the US Open. The ranking is not my priority anymore, but I'm working and I'm fighting for every match because I want to win matches. And then, if you are capable to win matches, you get the ranking.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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