Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Dubai Tennis: Simona Halep credits aggressive approach for victory over Eugenie Bouchard

World No 2 concedes being forced to alter strategy to prevail 7-6, 6-4 over Canadian

Simona Halep of Romania took on Canada's Eugenie Bouchard, a difficult opponent, and beat her in Dubai on Tuesday. Ali Haider / EPA
Simona Halep of Romania took on Canada's Eugenie Bouchard, a difficult opponent, and beat her in Dubai on Tuesday.Β Ali Haider / EPA

Simona Halep said being aggressive in her tactics had been key to getting the better of Eugenie Bouchard to reach the last 16 of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The world No 2 was victorious 7-6, 6-4, but she acknowledged she had been forced to alter her strategy to prevail over the Canadian.

"I changed a little bit. I tried to finish the points faster because I'm a little bit tired," the Romanian said.

"She played well, I think. The level was pretty good. I served very well. Yeah, at some points I really ran very well. I'm confident. I feel good on court even if I'm tired.

"When I had the chance, I was aggressive and I finished the points. I looked after this.

"I tried to go to the net as much as possible to take the swing volley. Even if I miss few, it was a good tactic, in my opinion, and that's why I could take in the important moments the points."

The 27-year-old was competing three days after she lost in the Doha final to Elise Mertens, but she said she was handling the physical challenge of playing a lot of tennis in a short period of time.

"Let's say I feel okay, not good," she said smiling. "It's normal. I had so many matches and tough ones. Coming from Fed Cup, it was a little bit exhausting mentally.

"I do what I can here. I try just to leave everything on court, then we'll see if I can win or not."

Another challenge for Halep this week is that she does not have a coach to lean on or to seek advice from.

She parted ways with Darren Cahill, after four years together, at the end of 2018 and has still not replaced him, choosing not to continue with Thierry van Cleemput after an one-week trial in Doha.

She conceded she was enjoying the challenge of working out the puzzle of an opponent's game without a coach to bounce ideas off.

"I had a lot of help in the past," she added. "Four years with Darren was I think enough to learn some things. Now I'm trying just to put them into the matches.

"It's good for me. I take the responsibility. I think I get better if I can manage all the situations during the match."

Halep has tasted victory in Dubai before, lifting the 2015 title, and she is hopeful that she can go on to repeat the feat on Saturday.

"I just want to find my energy," she said. "If I have energy on court, I think I'm able to do some things, good things, to be able to win some matches. But is never easy. I will take match by match and I will see."

The 2018 French Open winner faces Lesia Tsurenko for a place in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Halep has won all six of the previous match-ups with the Ukrainian, including last week in Doha, but she said she will be wary of the 29-year-old.

"She is different on court," she said. "She plays without pace much, but she directs the balls very well. It's going to be a tough one."

Updated: February 19, 2019 11:16 PM

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