MELBOURNE, Australia – Simona Halep has played down fears over her physical fitness following her 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4 victory over Sofia Kenin.
Speaking on court after the two-and-a-half encounter, the WTA World No.1 mentioned that she was carrying an injury.
After she was troubled in the second half of 2018 due to a back complaint, culminating in her retiring from Beijing in October, there were concerns it might be a recurrence of that problem but she says that is not the case.
“I feel it in my leg a little bit, it’s the muscle,” she explained. “I felt it in the second set, but it’s because I’m tired. I don’t think it’s anything dangerous, but we’ll see tomorrow morning.”
The 27-year-old admitted that recovering after her three-set victory over Kaia Kanepi in the first round, which also lasted upwards of two hours, had proven difficult.
“I couldn’t sleep at all that night,” she said. “I had pain in my legs and it was tough.
“But I had one day between matches and it was great. Today, I felt better and I was ready to play another match.
“Every tough match is a positive. But I feel ready to play three hours every day, even if I'm not 100% prepared for this tournament. Day by day I'm getting better.”
The runner-up in Australia last year, her next hurdle this time around is Venus Williams in the third round.
“It’ll be a tough one, but it’s sure I’m not going to run that much because the points will finish fast,” she said.
“She’s a great champion and it’s always a big challenge for me to face the Williams sisters.
“We’ll see how I play, how I am on court, but I will be confident because I’ve played against her and I know how she plays. I have to be strong.”
Halep trails 3-2 in the head-to-head record against Venus but has won each of their last two meetings, dropping only seven games in total.