Halep open-minded on Aust Open tennis

Women’s world No.2 Simona Halep says she has placed no expectations on her Australian Open campaign due to her nagging achilles injury.

Halep bowed out in the semi-finals of the rain-affected Sydney International on Friday afternoon at the hands of veteran Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3.

The Romanian dynamo felt “pain-free” throughout her two-hour, 44-minute match, but remained wary of an ankle problem that had plagued her since October.

Melbourne Park is the only grand slam venue where the 24-year-old has yet to reach the final four, but Halep says there is no pressure to break her run of outs at the Open starting on Monday.

“I don’t have expectations. I’ve been injured. I haven’t played many matches before (this week). I go to Melbourne to try everything I can and to give my best. It’s all I can do now,” she said.

“I’m just enjoying and just trying to fight every match. Of course, I want to win many matches, but we will see if it’s going to happen.”

The former French Open finalist entered last year’s Australian Open with a Shenzhen title under her belt, and then didn’t drop a set in her opening four matches.

But Halep bombed out in her quarter-final against Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 6-0.

This year, she’s a different player.

“Actually, after Australian Open last year, I played against (Makarova) in Dubai and I was completely different. I know now how to manage, I can say, if I have a tough match.

“Today, I struggled a little bit with attitude, but it’s okay. I didn’t have many matches in last couple of months, so it’s okay.”

Halep opens her Australian slam against a qualifier, before a possible third-round match-up with American Madison Keys or former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic.

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