Former world No. 1 Simona Halep insisted she expected a tough battle against world No. 52 Ekaterina Alexandrova. Halep, now ranked at No. 26 in the world, overcame Alexandrova in three sets 6-2 4-6 6-2 to progress into the Indian Wells third round.
"[Alexandrova is] a super difficult opponent. We played before. I knew that it's going to be a tough battle," Halep said. "But I'm happy that I could win. It's important at this stage. Yeah, I take only the positives.
It was a good match”.
Halep: I can do better
Halep arrived to the Indian Wells Masters on a two-match losing streak and she was aiming to get back on the winners' circle. Halep struggled a bit against Alexandrova but managed to win and to set up a third round meeting against rising American star Cori Gauff.
"Honestly, I'm not that close to my best level, in my opinion. But I'm working hard to improve. I'm focused on some things. I just stick to the plan. Of course, I need matches. Hopefully I can win one or two or more matches.
I need that confidence," Halep said. "But physically I'm super good. I feel healthy, I feel in a good shape. So it's just a matter of time to come back to the level I had. I'm not stressing about that. I'm just doing as much as possible every day to get to that level."
Before coming to Indian Wells, Halep did a week of a good training block at the Mouratoglou Academy. Halep is also joined by coach Morgan Bourbon, who works at the Mouratoglou Academy. "Darren Cahill pushed me to go to the Mouratoglou Academy because he respects Patrick a lot.
He thought it's the best choice for me because it's close to my home. It was a great week over there. I really enjoyed it. It's amazing what he's done there," Halep revealed.