Melbourne - Battle weary Simona Halep says her time will
come after failing for the third time to win a Grand Slam final, admitting her
body simply gave up after a draining Australian Open.
Her 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 6-4 defeat on Saturday to Caroline
Wozniacki was a double blow for the Romanian, who will also lose her number one
world status to the Dane when the new rankings come out next week.
The courageous Halep, 26, admitted that she cried after the
crushing loss, but was philosophical afterwards, saying "It is just a
tennis match in the end" and that "life goes on".
"But, yeah, I'm really sad I couldn't win it. I was
close again, but the gas was over in the end. She was better. She was fresher.
She had actually more energy in the end."
Despite losing, she vowed to bounce back and planned to get
back to work after having a break and giving her aching body time to heal.
"I will fight and hopefully I will face another
challenge like I did today," she said. I'm sad that I couldn't make it the
third time, but maybe the fourth time will be with luck."
It has been a tough two weeks for Halep, who turned her
ankle in her opening match and struggled with the injury throughout.
In round three, she played a 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 epic against
Lauren Davis, saving three match points to come back from the brink.
Then came a draining rollercoaster semi-final against
Angelique Kerber, with Halep battling through 9-7 in the third set, also saving
The long hours on court took their toll in the final, which
was played in hot and humid conditions on Rod Laver Arena, with ice-towels used
at the changeovers.
Halep called the trainer in the second set after suffering
headaches and feeling dizzy, with a doctor taking her blood pressure before
giving her the OK to carry on.
She then started cramping, and said the tendons in both feet
were bothering her.
"For sure. I was really tired. I had so many problems
with my feet, pain everywhere," she said.
"But, you know, I think I did pretty well with all the
things that were going on.
"After the first set, I just was out. I don't know what
happened. No energy, no power. But then I just said that I have to hit all the
balls, and then I could take the second set.
"I came back in the third set, but when I had to serve
for 5-3, the gas was gone, so I couldn't make it."
Halep made her only previous Grand Slam final appearances at
Roland Garros in 2014 and 2017, and she said the difference this time was that
she was ready mentally.
"But the body was not ready because I had so many long
matches," she said.
"Mentally I was ready. I feel that I can face any
challenge. I can play against anyone, I can win against anyone.
"But just sometimes is not how you want because you
cannot physically do it."
Despite the defeat, it has been an excellent start to the
season for Halep, who won a warm-up tournament in Shenzhen before her run to
the final at Melbourne Park, where she had fallen in he first round in 2016 and