Simona Halep ousted by unseeded Swiss youngster Belinda Bencic in quarterfinal of Dubai Duty Free Championship, here in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Thursday, 21st February 2019.
The clash between 2nd ranked, 27 year old Romanian and 45th ranked 21 year old Swiss for reaching semi finals went up to deciding set.
The first set went in favour of French Open champion Simona Halep 6 to 4. Next two sets went against her. The match finished in favor of Belinda Bencic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Though Halep said, “I couldn’t serve well because I felt my Achilles, and I had cramping” and did not justify, “but there are no excuses,” Simona Halep has played in total nine matches in two weeks. She happen to undergo to represent her country Romania in the Fed Cup and also played in Qatar Open, in which she went up to finals, before losing to Elise Mertens, 3 – 6, 6 – 4, 6 – 3. She mentioned after the match, “I’m not worried about the pain, it is just because I am tired and also had too many matches.”
Fully drained Halep said, “The body felt it was tired and, even though I wasn’t giving up, I felt I didn’t have enough to win. But I played until the end and I tried to stay there.”
Confident Simona Halep expressed, ” I need a few days off and then I will be OK.”
Q. Your ninth match in 13 days. Did it feel like that?
Simona Halep: Yeah, it was really difficult physically. I was tired. After the second set, I felt like I’m getting cramping a little bit. It’s normal. I was sweating a lot.
Yeah, she played well. She played very well. In the end, she was a little bit stronger.
Q. Seemed like you were taking more risk on your serve today.
Simona Halep: I couldn’t serve that well because of my Achilles. I felt last match a little bit. The left leg a little bit of cramping.
But there are no excuses, just the fact that I’m tired. It’s okay.
Q. What did you make of the way she was playing?
Simona Halep: Honestly, I didn’t check that much. I just wanted to play as I decided before this tournament, to finish the balls. I was too far back in this match. I couldn’t feel like to go to be more aggressive. That’s why maybe I couldn’t finish when I was leading.
Q. A lot of competitive matches over the last two weeks. What do you take away from the Middle East, and including Fed Cup as well?
Simona Halep: I think were three good weeks. Tough weeks. A lot of tension, a lot of pressure. Also the Fed Cup.
I take only positive things. I had great matches. My level is good. Physically also I’m good. But day by day I had to play, so is not easy.
I’m confidence for the next tournaments.
Q. Planning a rest before Indian Wells?
Simona Halep: Yeah, I will have rest now.
Q. How would you assess her game? What is it about her as a player that is difficult?
Simona Halep: She’s aggressive. She’s hitting the balls really hard no matter where she hits. This makes you to feel the pressure. I think she serves well. I think she’s a complete player and she can play good tennis.
Q. Getting the break back in the final set, did you feel you had the opportunity, or did your body really feel it?
Simona Halep: The body felt that it’s tired. Even if I was not giving up, I felt like I don’t have enough to win.
But I played till the end. I tried just to stay there no matter the result.
Q. The Achilles, is it a concern?
Simona Halep: It is just a pain. I’m not worried. Maybe it’s because I’m tired, also I had too many matches. I need a few days off and then I will be okay.
World number 2 and 2015 Dubai Tennis Championships winner Simona Halep won in style, 23 ranking Lesia Tsurenko in 16th round to qualify for quarter finals with Swiss player, 45th seed Belinda Bencic.
She made it in straight sets 6 – 3, 7 – 5, the Romanian yet to lose a set in her two rounds so far. Halep is lost to Belgian Elise Mertens, settle to runner up last week in Qatar Open held in Doha, Qatar,
Simona Halep expressed her confident mindset in a media conference held immediately after the pre quarter final match with Tsurenko, “My mindset now is just to finish the points as quick as possible. I’m trying to be more aggressive.” Further she mentioned “I’m more relaxed. I don’t put pressure on myself. Also, I have no expectations. When I feel that, I play better.” She feels “I feel close to my highest level,”
Simona Halep pre match interview. After Fed Cup and Doha Open she is here in Dubai to prove her championship quality. The third seeded Romanian is all set to improve her ranking as well as increase her WTA trophy counts (so far her stack is 18).
Q. Coming off a good week, you must be feeling good.
Ans: Two good weeks: Fed Cup and Doha.
Yeah, I feel good. I feel happy. A little bit tired, but it’s normal. I just arrived. Yeah, I’m looking forward actually to start with this one and see how it’s going to go. No expectations.
Q. The Laureus Awards tomorrow. How important is that to you?
Ans: What is important for me?
Q. The Laureus Award.
Q. You’re one of the nominees with Angelique Kerber.
Ans: I didn’t know, sorry. I had to play tennis, so I didn’t check (smiling).
It’s a great thing. It’s an honor. When is coming up?
Ans: Tomorrow. Keep the fingers crossed for me, please.
Q. How important will that be to you?
Ans: It’s going to be very important. It’s something different. Like I said, it’s an honor. I hope I can win it. But I have tough competitors, so we will see.
Q. What do you think was the key last week for you? Was it the energy of the Fed Cup? Was it just the focus? How surprised are you, if at all, how well you are playing so quickly?
Ans: Yeah, I was a little bit surprised because I played really well. Coming from indoor is never easy to adjust yourself.
Also in the final, I think I had no more energy in the third set. Even if I had that chance to make 3-2, I didn’t make it. Then I felt like the energy is going even lower. It was tough to handle it.
She played really well. She deserved to win that match because she was fresher than me. But still it was a great result for me. I will keep it. I will take it.
Q. Talking about this week, how difficult is it to turn around for a tournament that’s this big coming off of what was already a pretty grueling tournament in Doha?
Ans: Well, yeah, it’s not easy, but it’s nice here. Always when I come here, it’s a good feeling. Everywhere I win a tournament, I have a good feeling coming back.
It’s going to be a good week, doesn’t matter the result. I have no expectations. I just want to recover because I have some little pain. But I’m sure that in two days I will be better.
Hopefully I can play good tennis, even if I don’t have enough time to get used to the courts. It’s a little bit different, even if it’s the same, the hard court.
But I’m confident. If the confidence is high, it’s much better.
Q. What do you like about being here?
Ans: I don’t know. The atmosphere. The people, they are very nice to me. I feel like holiday sometimes. That’s why maybe I’m relaxed and I can play my best tennis.
Yeah, like I said, everywhere I win a tournament, I have good memories. When I come, I feel safer.
Q. What makes it feel like a holiday here?
Ans: The place. I don’t know. Everyone is relaxed. They are coming to watch matches. I’m going to the mall when I have time. It’s different.
Two weeks I haven’t been to the mall. I feel like a dog in his house (laughter).
Q. What is high on your shopping list?
Ans: Nothing special. But I will find something for sure.
Q. Who is with you here?
Ans: The boys. Teo, my trainer. My physio Andrei, and my sparring partner Vasile. Only these guys.
Q. In terms of the No. 1 ranking, now that you’re not having the No. 1 ranking, does it relax you at all? Does it have any impact?
Ans: No, is the same. I didn’t have the pressure before when I was No. 1. I handle it very well. So no, I don’t think. It’s the same thing. Doesn’t matter the ranking in these point of the year. In the end, yeah, it matters.