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October 29, 2019

Simona Halep

Shenzhen, China

S. HALEP/B. Andreescu

3-6, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First time you played Bianca. What challenges did she give you?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's been a great match both sides, in my opinion. She did great this year. Winning so many tournaments gave her a lot of confidence. I expected a very tough match.

I'm really proud actually that I could fight in this way because I have a month that I didn't really practice with my back, with the injury. But looks like I'm still there.

Today it was a challenge because she's 10 years younger than me. It was a good fight. I'm happy about my victory.

Q. What were you trying to tell yourself, especially after the first set, late in the second set? Seemed like you had to fight yourself a little bit to believe you could flip the match around.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, honestly I believed before the match that I have a chance, even if I had the long break. I know if my legs are strong on court, I can do anything. I felt great the last four days here. Actually, I'm happy that Darren is back. He gave me a little bit of power also.

In the second set, even if she was leading, I had a thought that I'm stronger mentally. We had some long rallies, and I won those balls. Then I just didn't think about the result. I've been focused on myself. I just had in my head what I have to play against her to be good.

I did it. It was a really good match.

Q. You called Darren onto the court a few times. Were there specific things he told you that helped?
SIMONA HALEP: I called him so many times because I missed him this year (smiling). I just wanted to make sure I have him the full charge, let's say. I ask once more when she got the medical, and they said, You had already too many. I said, Okay.

He told me good advice. He gave me advice that I'm playing okay, even if I thought I'm not playing very solid during the match. He told me that I'm okay and I can serve better, which is true. Even if I didn't serve great in this match, in the end was a little bit better.

Yeah, advice about the game, so he helped me.

Q. Is there anything she did that surprised you, something you didn't pick up from watching?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't watch her live at all. I just watched the TV a little bit because I'm not a big fan of watching tennis in my free time. But I heard and also Darren told me that she's playing great, and I have just to stay strong.

I felt that she's moving well. She hitting strong. Also she returns pretty well. I think she's a powerful player.

Q. You saved a match point there in the second set. What were you telling yourself? What was the key tactically because she's been a difficult player for other players to solve because she can change from point to point how she plays.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she changes a lot the rhythm, with some slices that you don't really expect them. I think at the match point I've been aggressive with the backhand down the line, if I remember well.

I didn't think that I can lose the match. I just wanted to start, even if could have been too late, to start to hit the ball and go down the line. I think today it was a good shot against her.

Q. Some players are mentally tougher than others. You're a big fighter. Talk about the fighting spirit is something you're born with or you can train.
SIMONA HALEP: I think you have it natural. To train this part is a little bit difficult because if you don't have the fire inside it's tough. Of course, I think you can improve in all the ways. You can improve also in the spirit.

But I have it natural. I always had it. Also when I was junior. Thanks God I don't have to work on that direction because I have many directions that I'm working on. It's good that this part is helping me.

Q. You were watching Petra and Naomi's match yesterday. Were you doing some scouting stuff or just wanted to watch the match?
SIMONA HALEP: I just wanted to watch how the ball is coming because the court is not fast but not slow in the same time. I just wanted to have a feeling of how is playing. It's too far to think to play against them, so I will stay chill and cool.

Q. When you say one of the challenges is she's 10 years younger than you, is that a challenge mentally or do you feel it on the court or something?
SIMONA HALEP: I heard in my country that I'm a little bit too old. That's why it was a little bit of pressure on that direction.

But I'm happy and proud now that I saw even if the young players are coming and they are strong winning already at 19 a Grand Slam, I'm still there and I can fight. So help me a lot this victory.

Q. You're not old.
SIMONA HALEP: I'm not old at all, I know (smiling).

Q. Next up is likely to be Elina. Your thoughts on that?
SIMONA HALEP: Looks like she likes the court. She feels it. She has confidence on this court. She won last year. It's a great thing to win this tournament because it's like playing the final of a Grand Slam every day.

It's going to be a tough match definitely. I'm looking forward to it. But first I will enjoy the day off tomorrow. I try to recover and then we will see. But I'm ready to fight again and I'm happy to be in this position.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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