Stronger mentality behind Halep's stunning fightback
Simona Halep thought she was beaten during a dramatic French Open quarter-final against Elina Svitolina, but said fighting spirit and a stronger mentality enabled her to pull off a sensational fightback.
The pre-tournament favourite was 5-1 down in the second set after losing the first, but hung in and went on to win 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-0 at Roland Garros on Wednesday.
Svitolina squandered a match point in the tie-break and was unable to recover after being taken to a third set by the determined third seed from Romania on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Halep said the way she came back from the brink of defeat showed she has a renewed mindset as the 25-year-old now prepares to face Karolina Pliskova in the last four on Thursday.
"I think today I showed that I'm stronger mentally. I stayed there till the end, even if I was a little bit upset during the match, but was positive," said Halep.
"I feel that she played unbelievable tennis first set until the end of the second set, 5-1.
"She played well, but also I played a little bit short, I think. My ball was not going as long as I wanted, but she was dominating the match. I just sat down at 5-2. I said that the match is lost.
"So I did nothing to change something, to change the rhythm. [She thought] That's it. It's over. And then I started to feel more relaxed maybe because I thought it's finished and I change the rhythm.
"I put some high balls. I just tried to make her move more, to open the court, and it came. I don't know how, but it was really good.
"I believed that it's going to come, something is going to turn around, and that's it. I'm just happy. I am not thinking about how it was. I was fighting till the end and I enjoyed it."
Svitolina took the agony of being so close to a first major semi-final on the chin.
She said: "I don't see it as a bad match or a bad day. I think she started playing much better. Of course, I let her back into the game a little bit, but she knows how to come back in the matches and she always fights for every ball.
"So I was expecting this. It was quite normal. But I don't really need to talk about this match as a bad experience or something. I think it's good. Okay, I am sad today, but tomorrow is going to be another day and life continues.
"I'm still going be five in the world next week and I have my four titles. No one takes them away from me. I think cannot be sad tomorrow."