LONDON, Great Britain - No.2 seed Simona Halep lost the first three games of her second round encounter with Beatriz Haddad Maia, but turned the match around in emphatic style to knock out the Brazilian, 7-5, 6-3, and reach the third round at the Wimbledon Championships.
"I wasn't not panicking today," Halep said after the match. "I just was waiting to start feeling the rhythm because I knew she's hitting strong before the match. I knew that I have just to push back her and to give some balls back, like many, to feel the rhythm, to feel her power. Then was much easier to open the court, to hit stronger and to stay very low.
"I think was a very good match. Every moment was important during this match. I felt that she's also good mentally. So I had to stay there and to stay calm."
Halep has twice reached the second week at the All England Club - most recently last year when she fell to eventual finalist Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals - and has a shot of wresting the No.1 ranking from her German rival should she reach the semifinals here for the second time in her career.
"I'm really far now, if we see the situations of being No. 1 in the world. I'm not thinking about that. I had some chances also in the final in French Open, but I didn't get it.
"I'm not thinking any more of that. I just want to win every match I play here and we will see in the end what is going to happen.
"Of course, it's a nice goal for me to get the No.1, but it's not easy."
I has been a career tournament for Haddad Maia, who won her first-ever Grand Slam main draw match at Wimbledon - defeating former British No.1 Laura Robson in straight sets - and the big-hitting Brazilian got off to a bright start in the opening set.
Two points from falling behind 0-4, Halep dug out to win the next three games, dropping just two more for the set to recover the initiative.
The pair converged for a pair of tough games to start the second set, where Halep and Haddad Maia held a combined seven break points.
But the Romanian ultimately took control when it counted, rolling through the final three games of the match in cruel symmetry for Haddad Maia, who will nonetheless earn a career-high ranking after Wimbledon.
In all, Halep hit five fewer winners but 19 fewer unforced errors, breaking serve five times to end the contest after 90 minutes.
Up next for Halep is China's Peng Shuai, who has a shot of taking back Chinese No.1 from countrywoman Zhang Shuai provided she pulls off the upset.
"She's very dangerous and very solid. She's hitting with two hands both sides. I think I have to stay low again. I didn't watch much how she's playing on grass, but I know that she's pretty strong opponent.
"I have to do the same like today, to keep my plan, to do my game, and to try to push and to be aggressive as much as I can."
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