Halep is look­ing in omi­nous form

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Mel­bourne

– 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

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