February 14, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
S. HALEP/I. Swiatek
3-6, 6-1, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I know this is a big match for you. Just talk us through how you feel about it.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, yeah, it's been a big match. And also pressure was there. But I'm really happy I could win it. It means a lot, and I'm happy that, you know, I played my game and I felt great on court.
Q. When you were asked about your next opponent, before the name was fully out, you said "Legend." When you play Serena, do you feel in any way any different playing someone with 23 Grand Slam singles titles as opposed to an Iga or, you know, anyone else?
SIMONA HALEP: Of course it's different. She's the only one with 23 Grand Slams, so you cannot compare Serena with all of us, because we do not have so many Grand Slams.
But when I step on the court, it's just another opponent, and always I'm focused on myself more than I focus against who I play. And I'm trying to give my best to try everything I can to win that match.
Q. Is it easier or harder when you're playing Serena to focus only on yourself?
SIMONA HALEP: No, it's not that hard, because I'm used to play Serena. We played so many times. I know what to expect.
I will just try to do my game, and I will be confident.
Q. What is your most indelible memory from your victory over her at Wimbledon?
SIMONA HALEP: The game, I think it was one of the best in my life. The best day actually of my life.
I felt very confident back then. I felt every ball. I felt all the game. But I'm not different mentally from that day. I just think that two matches in a row cannot be the same, so I'm just getting ready for to face her here.
Q. Darren wanted to know if you look at the videos that he sends you.
SIMONA HALEP: I do. (Laughter.) Why?
Q. Because he didn't think you did.
SIMONA HALEP: Honestly, I didn't the last one. But the whole week I did, but last one, no, I didn't. Because I didn't want to put extra pressure on myself. I just say I go there, I know her because we play two times before, and I will see on court. He was right (smiling).
Q. How would you describe how your draw in this tournament reflects the depth of the power in the women's tennis field all together?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's a lot of power. I also watched a little bit of Serena with Aryna Sabalenka today, and there was huge power.
But, you know, I'm not scared of the power that is in tennis right now, because I have experience. I played many times with these players, and I beat most of them.
So I'm confident with my way of playing, and doesn't matter that much the power of the game for me.
Q. You talked about feeling pressure for tonight's match. How much of that just comes from wanting to make the quarterfinals? How much comes from not wanting to lose to a 19-year-old in the fourth round two slams in a row? Where does the pressure come from?
SIMONA HALEP: No, the pressure came from the way I played the last match against her. I just expected from myself a better game, which I did, and I'm really happy about that.
And the pressure of the tournament. Is nothing specific. It's just the way that I'm here, the fact that I'm here, and I put 100% from myself in every match.
So that's why I feel the pressure.
Q. On tonight's match, obviously you talked a little bit about it on court, but you said you started the match playing too direct, too flat, and then started to make the adjustment. Can you talk about why you chose to start the match playing maybe a little bit more flat and then when you made the adjustment, what did you start to see change in the match?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I thought before the match that I have to be a little bit more aggressive than Paris. In Paris I have been very far back, and my ball didn't go through the court. So I thought that it's a better chance to go and hit.
But then I saw that I do some mistakes that I don't really handle them. I don't like to do easy mistakes. And then I just step back a little bit. I did a step back, and I wanted just to open the court more to have more time and to roll the ball better.
So I did that, and that's why I could win.
Q. Now you have 100 Grand Slam wins. How does it feel?
SIMONA HALEP: It feels nice. It's nice performance, and I'm happy that I touched that number. Let's hope that I will have many more (smiling).
Q. Towards the end of the match, the third set was a little bit up and down and -- not up and down but tight between the both of you.
SIMONA HALEP: Tight, yeah.
Q. The last few games, it seemed like she sorted her game out a little bit and started to play much better. What was the key to kind of being able to get that match over the line for you, as she was playing better?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I felt that she was playing better, and also, she was more focused than the beginning of the set.
She didn't give up a point, which makes the life tougher during the match, but I did the same thing, and I'm happy that I could be a little bit stronger in the end.
I felt the pressure when I served, but the serve held me also today and also the whole week. So I'm really happy with the game I played tonight and all the matches.
Q. The two times you have beaten Serena in the past, both matches were not close, really. You won very big at Wimbledon and then Singapore five, six years ago. Is that something you're going to try to do again in this next match, to try to play an amazing, untouchable match? Do you think that's what you need against Serena?
SIMONA HALEP: I need my best tennis, yes, to win against her. But I'm not thinking of those matches.
As I said before, I don't expect two matches in a row the same way, so I'm ready for a long match. Also, I'm ready for everything, to face everything, but I know what to expect.
So I will just be focused and do my game. Is the only one thing that I can do the best.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports