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June 4, 2014

Simona Halep


S. HALEP/S. Kuznetsova
6‑2, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  It went smoothly today.  How do you feel on court?
SIMONA HALEP:  I felt very well on court.  It was a perfect day for me.  I played really well.  I did my game.  I was very aggressive.  I played very fast.
So it was a good match, and I'm really happy that now I can play semifinals in Paris.

Q.  It seems to me that the more matches you win, the more people find out about the operation you had about five years ago.  Does that make you uncomfortable, or do you think it can actually help young girls in a similar difficult situation?
SIMONA HALEP:  Sorry, but I don't want to speak about this one.  It made a long time ago and it's something personal, so I'm sorry.
About tennis I will speak with pleasure, but that problem, it's my personal thing.  Sorry.

Q.  How did you feel about this atmosphere?  Most of the audience are behind you and they are cheering for you.
SIMONA HALEP:  Yes, everybody was with me today, so it was amazing on court.  Even when I passed on court they were with me and I felt amazing.  It was a great match, a great atmosphere out there.  The court was nice.  Was my first time on Suzanne, so everybody was nice with me.
It was a perfect day, and I cannot say anything more.  Maybe it was wasn't her best day today, but for me it was the best.  I'm really happy that I could play my game and to win against her, because it's a great player.
So I won in two sets and very fast.  I'm happy, and I really want to look forward for the next round because is my first semifinal at Grand Slam, and I have to be very focused, very calm, and to try to do everything on court.

Q.  After the Australian Open quarterfinal you were not as happy as you are today.  I think you described it as not a very good match.  So did you look back on that match at all?

Q.  And prepare for the nerves this time?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah.  At that moment I didn't know how to manage the emotions before the quarterfinals.  I was very nervous on court and I couldn't play my game.  I couldn't run the balls and I couldn't hit.
Now I was very relaxed.  Was a tough day because I had to wait a few hours to play because of the rain, but still was perfect day.  I had really good relaxation before the match.  I stayed with my team and we spoke about other things.  Not about the match and about the tennis.
So I'm really happy that I could pass this level, this quarterfinals match, and really happy to enjoy the next match because is the best result and I have to be happy for this.

Q.  Can you just talk a little bit about your next opponent, Andrea Petkovic?
SIMONA HALEP:  I played against her one year ago at Nuremberg in the final.  I beat her in two sets, but it's already one year.  Maybe she improve more.  I improve more, also.
It will be a tough match, for sure.  It's a little pressure because it's semifinal, but I feel good.  I feel my game.  I feel prepared for the next match.
For sure I will try everything to win.

Q.  The other players in the semifinals are taller, and they also seem to hit the ball a bit harder than you do.  Do you actually practice hitting the ball harder and becoming stronger the way Justine Henin used to?
SIMONA HALEP:  No.  Just I try to play fast, to open the court very well, to open the angles, and to take the ball very fast, to stay very close to the baseline.
With my serve I try to hit stronger, but I cannot because I'm not very tall.  I try also to hit more‑‑ you know, to have like 75% during the match with my first serve.
But today was better than the last match, so it's good.  I believe in my serve now for the next round.

Q.  The timing of your shots seems to be perhaps one of your strong points.  You seem to time it very well.  The few times you wrong footed Svetlana on the court.  Is that to do with your relaxation?  How do you get the timing so good on your shots?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, I think because I feel the court very well and also the game.  I like.  Is my style to play fast and to take the ball very early.  She's more defensive than me.  She's playing more far from the court.
So my point was today my tactic was to play fast, to play very close to the ball, and just to open the angles.
I tried also to do the‑‑ I don't know to say in English, but...

Q.  (In Romanian.)  Wrong footing?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, that's the point.  Yeah, I tried and I did very well.  So today I think I had the perfect game, in my opinion.

Q.  No one talks about tactics as good as you do.

Q.  No one.  No other female player does it.
SIMONA HALEP:  I'm very glad (smiling).

Q.  I'm very glad too.  Do you watch a lot of tennis?
SIMONA HALEP:  No, I don't watch tennis.  Because I love tennis, and I try just to ‑‑because I don't have one more meter and 80 centimeters, I try to play faster, to open the angles because I know this is my chance on court.  I believe in this, and that's why I'm practicing also this point.
So I don't watch a lot of tennis.  Just my feeling on court.

Q.  And you don't watch videos of your opponents or anything?

Q.  You just have your game plan and you execute?
SIMONA HALEP:  Never.  I have one game, and I try to do always on court.  I watch just my matches (smiling).

Q.  Speaking of tactics and strategies, are you kind of a player who prepares different kind of tactics depending on your opponent, or...
SIMONA HALEP:  Sometimes, yes.  But usually I go on court with my tactic to be aggressive, to play fast, and to open the court, to open the angles.
If I play with stronger like Sharapova, because she hits the ball very well, I try also to be a little bit different, back from the baseline.
But I saw in Madrid that first set I played really fast and it worked, but after that I did two steps behind and was not good for me.
So for now, in my mind is just to do my game, to be aggressive, and to stay very close to the baseline.  That's everything for me.

Q.  Your coach always praises your footwork.  He even said you have footballer's legs.  Could that be a compliment?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yes.  I played him also this morning a little bit of football with my physio in the gym.  I like to play with the ball every sport.  I did also handball in school, so I like sport and I like to do everything.

Q.  Do you think you can become the second Romanian woman to win a Grand Slam in Paris?
SIMONA HALEP:  Here?  Too far yet.  Tomorrow will be a tough match.  If I win, if I can win that one, the final will be very strong.
So I don't want to think too far.  Just to be focused for the next round and to try everything to win.

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