Halep confident she can handle the pressure


Simona Halep believes she is ready to handle the pressure of the French Open final as she seeks a maiden grand slam title, and the number-one ranking, against Jelena Ostapenko at Roland Garros.

The Romanian was pre-tournament favourite before heading to Paris after winning the Madrid Open and reaching the Rome final before an ankle injury hampered her against Elina Svitolina.

Having shaken off that knock, however, Halep has been in fine form in the French capital, sailing into the last eight before toughing it out against Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova to reach the showpiece.

Ostapenko, a 20-year-old first-time major finalist, awaits Halep in Saturday's showdown and, though the heat is on the third seed to go one better than her 2014 final defeat against an unknown opponent, Halep believes it is her time.

"It's tough to know what to expect against Ostapenko. She's hitting very strong. But it will be similar to yesterday, so it's going to be the same plan.

"But I will focus more on myself. I'm not focusing on her too much. I just want to do my game, to be there, focused, to move well. Because I need to move very well tomorrow and to take it like it is.

"It's going to be a big match, tough match. I know that she can play her best tennis. She has nothing to lose. So I'm going there and I will be ready. 

"Of course, this match is really important, and I will not hide the heaviness [importance] that it has. Of course it's going to be a great thing if I can win tomorrow. But I would like not to think too much, because it will add more pressure.

"I say always that I play well with the pressure, but now I don't need it. I just take it like a big day, a big match. And definitely I'm ready for it, because I won many matches until now.

"So I have also the mentality to play this final. We will see tomorrow, but I will give my best to make happy more people at home."