Halep is looking in ominous form
– Simona Halep (right) admitted that she launched her Australian Open title bid “stressed” and tired but warned she is now in full flow after surging into the quarter-finals yesterday.
The two-time Grand Slam champion defeated 16th seed Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-4 and plays Estonian 28th seed Anett Kontaveit or unseeded Polish teenager Iga Swiatek in the last eight.
Former world number one Halep, beaten in the 2018 final by Caroline Wozniacki, has not dropped a set in four matches in Melbourne and the Romanian fourth seed looks in ominous form.
The 28-year-old will rise from third to second in the world rankings after beating Belgium’s Mertens.
But the start of the year was not easy, said Halep, who looked below-par in losing to lower-ranked Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter-finals in Adelaide the week before Melbourne.
“I got a little bit down with my head after that loss. I felt tired when I came here, I don’t know why,” said Halep, one of the most popular figures in women’s tennis.
“Maybe because I stress myself too much, and I just lost the energy.
“But then after the first match (in Melbourne) I got the energy back and I felt like my game is going at the higher level. I feel good.”
Halep is at a loss as to why she felt sluggish.
“I did off-season in Dubai, I worked hard. Then I had a few days off home,” she said.
“I don’t really know exactly what happened. Maybe mentally I was a little bit stressed, and I lost energy.” – AFP