GUANGZHOU, China - The life of a tennis player is tough - most play over 20 tournaments a year, some over 30. Time at home, a key ingredient to staying mentally and physically fresh, can be scarce.
While it wasn't a lot of time, Simona Halep managed to squeeze in a little bit of time at home last week, in between her best ever US Open performance (she reached the semifinals) and getting her fall season going this week at the Guangzhou International Women's Open, where she's the No.1 seed.
"There wasn't a long time to relax myself, but I had five nice days at home in Bucharest," Halep said during some pre-tournament interviews in Guangzhou, currently in its 12th year as a WTA stop.
"I stayed with my family and my friends, and was just enjoying the life at home for a bit!"
After admittedly disappointing results at the French Open and Wimbledon, falling second round and first round, respectively, Halep took some time off at home before getting back on the hardcourts in the summer - and the time off paid off, as she reached back-to-back finals in Toronto and Cincinnati and then the aforementioned semifinal run in New York, falling to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta.
Halep, who had never even been past the fourth round in Flushing, took a lot of positives away.
"Of course I take positive things - I had about 16 matches played on hardcourts this summer, and I'm happy with my results here at the US Open. I'm happy I could reach the semifinals for the first time - it's the best Grand Slam for me this season. So I really don't take any negatives away with me.
"I just want to rest a few days and then start again playing matches and tournaments."
This isn't Halep's first trip to Guangzhou - she played the International-level event as a No.96-ranked 18-year-old back in 2010, falling first round to former Top 20 player Tamarine Tanasugarn.
A confident World No.2 hopes to continue her successes from Shenzhen and the summer this week.
"I feel really positive these days. I can win the tough matches. I've beaten top players," she said.
"I'm confident, and I know I have a chance to play my best tennis at these next tournaments."
The Romanian is scheduled to play in Wuhan and Beijing in the next few weeks as well.