„It was one of my best matches since I came back aftee the injury”, Simona Halep said at the post-match press conference following her win against Gabriela Ruse (6-1, 6-2). “Today I served the best since I returned on court, I served even harder than before. Return of serve was very good, maybe I could’ve played a little bit deeper. Forehand was not as I wanted, I didn’t open up the court so much, but it was definitely one of my best matches since I came back.”
When asked if she was influenced by the fact that she was facing Gabi Ruse, who had confessed that Simona is her idol, former world no. 1 said that experience helps her to cope with this kind of emotions.
“I used to be intimidated by these things, but over the years I’ve started to learn from every match. I was intimidated when playing against Serena and I couldn’t play my best tennis. But I’ve learned not to think who the opponent is and to try focus exclusively on my game. I did that today and apparently it went well.”
What would be her advice for Gabi Ruse, with whom she also played doubles this year? „She has to keep working, and to not slow down. Even though she entered Top 100, she still has to work in order to move higher. My only advice is a lot of work, this is my principle”, said Simona, before confessing she feels very good in Cluj.
“I always feel good in Cluj, everyone is very warm to me. I received a special welcome as usual, the tournament is exceptionally organized, I have great conditions and it feels like home. I cannot say anything bad. I feel good and today I’ve played really well. I am training very seriously, it is a nice tournament and I am very happy I could come”, Simona said.
In round two she will play against the Russian Varvara Gracheva (WTA 81) in their first ever encounter.