Halep not feeling the pressure

By Alex Fisher 18 January 2018 364
Halep not feeling the pressure

Simona Halep says her ongoing ankle problems at the Australian Open have eased the pressure on her shoulders to claim a first grand slam title.

Halep arrived at Melbourne Park atop the rankings and among the favourites for glory, aided by Serena Williams' withdrawal prior to the tournament.

The Romanian achieved one of her career goals by reaching the rankings summit last year and had set her sights on realising another in Australia.

However, she suffered a nasty ankle twist in her opening match against Destanee Aiava and continues to be troubled by it.

"I still feel pain," she told a media conference after her second-round win over Eugenie Bouchard. "I couldn't practice much.

"I played much better than I expected because of the foot. My game was really solid, I hit the ball very well and the return was pretty strong.

"I think everything went well for me, I played one of my best games."

But Halep insists, despite her impressive display, her expectations have been tapered due to the concern over her ankle.

"For sure I'm not 100 per cent," she added. "But I don't feel pressure.

"I feel a little bit more relaxed because I have nothing to lose."

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Alex Fisher