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French Open favourite Halep: “I’m not going to put pressure on myself”

With a 10-0 record on clay this summer – including wins in Prague and Rome – Simona Halep is the big favourite going into Roland-Garros but the Romanian says she will not put too much pressure on herself to repeat her 2018 triumph.

World No 2 Simona Halep was leading the two-time defending champion Karolina Pliskova 6-0 2-1 in Rome when the Czech retired in tears because of injury.

Pliskova called a medical timeout between sets and had treatment on her lower back and leg.

It is Halep’s third consecutive title, with the two-time grand slam champion now on a 14-match winning streak after a triumph that further solidifies her status as French Open favourite.

Halep: “I’ve played so much on clay, so I feel confident”

The 2018 Roland-Garros champion is not willing to burden herself with the weight of expectation despite her hugely impressive form.

“It’s just another tournament,” Halep said. “I’m not going to put pressure on myself. I’ve played really well this year, with three titles already. I’ve played so much on clay, so I feel confident and happy that I’ll have a chance to play another grand slam this year.”

“I’m not going to let myself be bothered by things like the weather. I’ll just be happy to take positives from this tournament and go there smiling. It’s a dream for everyone to win the grand slam tournament from the first day, so it’s my dream as well, but I’m not thinking that far. I just want to go there, get used to the courts and the atmosphere, and try to win every match I play. Every match is a battle, so I’ll be ready for it.”

Pliskova: “I always have to be 100 per cent to play a good match against you”

Pliskova had won three of her previous four meetings with Halep but was full of appreciation for the Romanian after falling short this time around.

“Disappointing for me to not finish today, but Simo, obviously too strong,” Pliskova said. “I always have to be 100 per cent to play a good match against you. Congratulations for the whole week. I think you deserve the title.”

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