PARIS, France - World No.3 Simona Halep's title defense ended on Thursday at the hands of talented American teenager Amanda Anisimova, who blasted 25 winners and held her nerve in the end to defeat the reigning champion 6-2, 6-4 in 68 minutes in the French Open quarterfinals.
"I think she played great," Halep told reporters after the match. "I think that I have done everything I could today and this tournament, I'm happy with the result.
"It's not bad at all to make quarterfinals at a Grand Slam. Coming as a defending champion, the pressure was on.
"But I think I had good matches, and I'm leaving this tournament with positive thoughts."
For the first time since she won her first WTA title in 2013, Halep goes into the grass season without a title in hand. She has made two finals this season, in Doha and Madrid, but came up against a big-hitting confident youngster in Paris once again. With the loss, Halep will drop out of the Top 5 for the first time since May 2017.
"[I'm] not negative now," Halep said. "I'm not very disappointed."
"It's normal to be a little bit disappointed after a loss, but I feel okay, and I'm looking forward to a new day tomorrow. Actually, a few days off first, and then to the grass season. Maybe I can make a good one."
Aside from the standard disappointment from a loss, Halep said she remained positive about her season.
"Well, now it's a little bit easier because I have a few days off, and then I can go and train on grass court. It's already, I don't know, maybe my seventh year when I do these things coming from clay to grass court. I got used to it. I will not do something special. I will just keep my routine, and I will try to get ready as much as possible for Wimbledon. Hopefully I can make a good result.
"But no, no pressure. This year is a 'chill' year for me," Halep said with a smile.
Looking ahead to the semifinalists, which include Miami Open champion Ashleigh Barty, Rome finalist Johanna Konta, and two teenagers in 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova and Anisimova, Halep had a hard time predicting what would happen over the next few days.
"I think [Anisimova] has a big chance if she's playing like today without emotions and without thinking about the result. She was pretty calm. She showed that she's able to do good things and big things, so I think she has a chance."
"Well, nothing surprises me anymore in tennis, but if I have to choose, it's tough. I know Barty has a big chance also because she's very talented and she feels the ball. She played also well in the previous tournaments on clay, so I think she has the game to win the tournament.
"Konta is, I think, the first time when she wins matches at Roland Garros, so everything can be possible.
"The other two, they are very young, so the story from 2017 can repeat. Maybe one of them has a chance to win the tournament. [Two teenagers] in the finals would be huge."
Having now played Anisimova for the first time, Halep had nothing but respect for what the American has done to make her first Slam semifinal and tipped big things for her future.
"I think she has a chance and she will be in the top soon because she has the game. She sees the game, has the good attitude, so I think she's a great player."