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January 20, 2014

Simona Halep


S. HALEP/J. Jankovic
6‑4, 2‑6, 6‑0

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How satisfying was that win?  A milestone win for you.
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, was my dream before starting this year to play quarterfinals at Grand Slam.
I am very excited that I played really well today.  In third set I played my best tennis.  So was a tough match, but I really want to enjoy and to try my best next round because it will be very tough.

Q.  You're the last unseeded player in the fourth round.  Does that put a bit more pressure on you?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, no pressure on me because I have just to enjoy the quarterfinals.  Is first time in my life.  I have just to be happy on court and to try my best, to move well, and to be relaxed.
Because it's my chance, and I have to fight for it.

Q.  She played very well in the second set.  Can you talk about how you turned it around in the third set.
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, she played really well in second set.  I was a little bit tired after first set.  I don't know why.  But my energy was very down.
After that, at 5‑2 I said that I have to lose the set and to try to come back for the third one.
I was to the bathroom, and I was a little bit ready to play third set.  I said that I have nothing to lose.  It's my chance to fight for every point and for the match, for my dream.
I did really well.  I was very aggressive in third set and I hit the ball.

Q.  You won a lot of matches last year and sis tournaments.  Does it feel like a different challenge winning matches at a Grand Slam?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, for me it's always different tournament.  The Grand Slam I have a lot of pressure.  I had before, but here I started to play well.  Match by match I improved more in my shots, in my game.
First round here I had a lot of pressure because it's Grand Slam and it's different tournament.  I won last year tournaments, but smaller ‑ very small ‑ than this one.  I just have wanted to take my chance every match and to try my best like last year.

Q.  You're going to be in the top 10 now.

Q.  It's pretty much settled.
SIMONA HALEP:  I'm really happy to hear that, but I have to fight next round, because Grand Slam is Grand Slam.  I don't care about the ranking now.  Just I want to enjoy every match.

Q.  Usually players get a new coach and go forward.  You haven't got a coach at all at the moment.  Can you give us a reason why?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, for the moment I don't have coach.  I just want to find my way from last year because I was very aggressive and I had a lot of confidence in myself last year.  I just want to find that way.
I will have a coach after this tournament.  I wait to learn more.

Q.  Have you ever played on the biggest court at a Grand Slam before?
SIMONA HALEP:  I played against Jankovic at US Open in 2010, I think, first round.  She beat me there.  Yes, was just there.

Q.  Given all the matches you have won last year, do you feel you already belong in the top 10, even though now is the time you're getting into the top 10?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, in top 10 it's a big difference because the players are very strong.  They fighting a lot every point.  They play very good till the match is end.
It's difficult.  More pressure and more, you know, you want every time to win, to beat the top‑10 players.
Is not easy, but I want to improve more for my game and to be close there.

Q.  Can you just talk about what were a couple key things, most important things, from July when you won your first tournament, to now, to make you a top‑10 player.
SIMONA HALEP:  I think I started to play well in Madrid.  Mr. Tiriac gave me a wild card.  He help me a lot there.  I lost first round there, but I played three hours, something like this.
After that I felt I can play very good level in tennis.  After Rome, after I beat Radwanska, before that I was thinking that is impossible to beat her because her game is very different, it's strange for me.  It's not easy to play.
And after that I had confidence that I can beat the top players and to be there in the top level.

Q.  Can you tell us a little bit what's happening in Romania behind you.  Do your wins make headlines in the newspaper, or TV, and radio talking about you?
SIMONA HALEP:  They did nice things for me last year.  First pages, as you said.  But for me it's not like a big pleasure because I get tired when I go to televisions or something like this.
I just want to be focused every moment in tennis, because tennis doesn't wait for you.  You have to be focused and to fight for every opportunity you have.
So I want to thank them because they were supporting me a lot.  And now I heard that they are supporting me, as well.

Q.  Jelena ran out of challenges in the final game of the first set.
SIMONA HALEP:  That game was very important for both of us.

Q.  She tends to do that a lot.  When you're on court with her, do you think it's weird how often she is wrong about challenges?
SIMONA HALEP:  I cannot see like, I don't know, the line umpires.  But sometimes I see the balls and I'm more relaxed when she ask for challenge.
But I think she was very, you know, I think nervous first game to ask for two challenges already in first game.  But that was, you know, my chance to get the match.

Q.  It gives you confidence when she makes these terrible challenges?

Q.  As your profile rises, people find out more about you, your breast reduction surgery was three or four years ago.  Does that play any part in your success?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, it was a long time ago, my breast reduction.  I am happy for that.  Now if I have to do again for tennis, I would do, yeah.  It was a good decision for me.

Q.  What about outside the tennis?

Q.  What about outside the tennis?
SIMONA HALEP:  Outside the tennis what?

Q.  You said you would do it again.
SIMONA HALEP:  I don't want to say anything about this (laughter).

Q.  Who do you talk to about strategy going into matches since you don't have a coach?
SIMONA HALEP:  Nobody.  Nobody.

Q.  So you make all the decisions by yourself?
SIMONA HALEP:  I did alone.  I felt that I'm prepared for the match against Jankovic because I know I have to run a lot.  She hits a lot of balls back.  She hits strong.
But I just wanted to play more aggressive and not so close to her.  You know, her backhand is very good.  I just tried to play something different.

Q.  So when you say 'your team' here, is that your fitness trainer and physio?
SIMONA HALEP:  Fitness trainer and the sparring are here with me, yes.

Q.  You sound very confident at the moment.  Where did you get that self‑belief and motivation?
SIMONA HALEP:  I don't know.  I am like this.  I just like to fight every moment.  I want to get my chances.  It's a big chance to play here at Grand Slams.
Yeah, it's very nice.  I was fighting a lot here.

Q.  Not a lot of older and brothers that you had to fight for your patch?

Q.  Do you remember Spirlea reaching semifinals against Venus?
SIMONA HALEP:  I was too young.

Q.  1997.
SIMONA HALEP:  1997?  No, I was too young.

Q.  When Romanian player did you watch when you were young?
SIMONA HALEP:  I saw some videos on YouTube of Ilie Nastase, Virginia Ruzici, as well.  But I didn't see so good.

Q.  What are your thoughts on Cibulkova?
SIMONA HALEP:  It will be a tough match.  I played against her before.  I know she moves very well, she hits all the balls.  I have to be prepared to run a lot and to defend very good because she plays really strong.
I have to be aggressive and to enjoy the quarterfinals because is the first time in my life.  I just want to be happy there.

Q.  You won six tournaments last year.  Do you think you're ready to win this tournament?
SIMONA HALEP:  I cannot compare the tournaments I won last year with the Grand Slam.
In my mind I can say that I'm not prepared now.  But I just want to think that I have to take my chances to play every match and to see how far I can go.

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