French Open: Pressure no problem for Halep as she kicks off Roland Garros campaign with win

By Sports Desk May 24, 2022

Former world number one Simona Halep says she will put "as much pressure as possible" on herself as she seeks French Open glory.

The 2018 Roland Garros champion came through her first-round clash against 18-year-old lucky loser Nastasja Schunk 6-4 1-6 6-1 on Tuesday.

Number 19 seed Halep, who is now coached by Serena Williams' former coach Patrick Mouratoglou, has played 42 main-draw matches at the French Open – more than any other player in this year's competition.

Asked if that experience brings with it more pressure, Halep told a media conference: "Well, hopefully I put as much pressure as possible on myself because I love pressure. It's good to have it and it keeps you focused.

"Everyone is playing well, so it's a big challenge every match. We are at Grand Slam, so it's always tough. But I'm here to face these challenges, and I'm here to give my best.

"So, I will focus on myself. I will try to do what I have to do, and that's it. Then we will see.

"I will think about the next round only, and then if I will win it, I will think about the next one.

"I don't want to look further than that. It's important to just stay focused and to play the next match."

Halep will face Zheng Qinwen in the second round after the Chinese player overcame Maryna Zanevska 6-3 6-1 on Monday. 

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Kyrgios bemoans 'pure disrespect' after first-round win Wimbledon: Kyrgios bemoans 'pure disrespect' after first-round win

    Nick Kyrgios emerged victorious from an opening-round five-setter against British wildcard Paul Jubb at Wimbledon on Tuesday but controversy again followed, with the Australian blasting the "disrespect" he feels he receives.

    The 27-year-old defeated Jubb 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 and hit 67 winners but after a drama-filled three hours and five minutes, his prompting of a line judge to speak to the chair umpire and demands for some fans to be removed were punctuated by spitting towards a section of the crowd upon victory.

    Earlier this month, tournament organisers in Stuttgart investigated when Kyrgios claimed he was racially abused by sections of the crowd during a match.

    At his post-match news conference, Kyrgios jousted with journalists on the capacity of older line judges to make accurate calls, but primarily focused on the perceived normality of on and off-court abuse.

    "A lot of disrespect was being thrown today from the crowds," he said. "I’m just starting to think that it’s normal when it’s really not.

    "I didn’t say anything to the crowd until they started just every time I came down to the far end, people just going. It’s just I don’t know if it’s normal or not.

    "Just pure disrespect, just anything. Someone just yelled out I was s**t in the crowd today. Is that normal? No. I just don’t understand why it’s happening over and over again.

    "Have you ever gone to a supermarket and just started berating someone scanning the groceries? No. So why do they do it when I’m at Wimbledon? Why is that?"

    In a testy news conference, Kyrgios was himself accused of lacking respect, but he lamented over not being able to respond to the abuse he receives on the court without some kind of punishment.

    The world number 40 insisted he has no regrets on spitting towards an unruly fan after his win.

    "Today, as soon as I won the match, I turned to him," Kyrgios said. "I’ve been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don’t feel like I owed that person anything.

    "Like, he literally came to the match to literally just, like, not even support anyone really. It was more just to, like, stir up and disrespect. That’s fine. But if I give it back to you, then that’s just how it is.

    "There’s a fence there and I physically can’t do anything or say anything because I’ll get in trouble. They’re able to say anything they want."

     

  • Wimbledon: Tan 'really scared' to face Williams before three-set triumph Wimbledon: Tan 'really scared' to face Williams before three-set triumph

    Harmony Tan admitted she feared the prospect of facing a 23-time grand slam winner after defeating Serena Williams at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

    It took Tan three hours and 11 minutes to claim the scalp of the seven-time Wimbledon winner, eventually winning the match 7-5 1-6 7-6 (10-7).

    The SW19 debutant twice broke back in the third set, even setting up a match point which Williams saved before the eventual tie-break, and rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the tie-break to emerge victorious.

    Despite the resolve shown and delight with the win on Centre Court at the All England Club, the 24-year-old revealed she nervously came into the contest.

    "[Serena] is a superstar and when I was young I was watching her so many times on the TV," Tan said post-match. "For my first Wimbledon, it's wow. Just wow.

    "When I saw the draw, I was really scared. Because, yeah, it's Serena Williams. She's a legend and I was like, 'Oh my God, how can I play?' If I could win one game or two games, it was really good for me.

    "I would like to thank everybody today and my team and my coach Nathalie Tauziat, who also played Serena. Thank you so much for being with me."

    Tan will now face 32nd seed Sara Sorribes Tormo, who defeated American qualifier Christina McHale 6-2 6-1.

  • Wimbledon: Serena Williams stunned by Tan in three-set marathon Wimbledon: Serena Williams stunned by Tan in three-set marathon

    Serena Williams' hopes of a winning a record-equalling 24th grand slam title at Wimbledon are over after she was beaten by the unheralded Harmony Tan in an epic first-round match.

    Williams went down 7-5 1-6 7-6 (10-7) on Centre Court in her first singles match since being forced to withdraw in the opening round of last year's tournament at the All England Club, when she suffered a hamstring injury during a contest with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

    The seven-time Wimbledon champion's much-heralded comeback proved to be an almighty battle and it was the SW19 debutant from France who came out on top late on Tuesday evening.

    It took outsider Tan three hours and 11 minutes to claim a huge scalp, winning what could prove to be the great Williams' final singles match at Wimbledon.

    Tan broke three times in a back-and-forth first set, with Williams unable to keep her at bay during the seventh game despite the world number 115 seeing three break points come and go before winning the fourth.

    The underdog's slice in particular proved to be difficult for the 40-year-old - 16 years senior to her opponent - to counter, and the former world number one seemed to need the break afforded by the roof closure on Centre Court to regather herself.

    Williams stamped her authority on the match in the second set to force a decider, breaking twice as she surged into a 5-0 lead before serving it out.

    Tan refused to be beaten in the final set, twice breaking back to frustrate Williams. 

    Williams was able to force a tie-break after saving a match point, and surged into a 4-0 lead - but Tan rallied once more to seize back the momentum, and celebrated a famous win after her legendary opponent netted a forehand.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.