Halep wants to keep having fun after breakthrough season

Sun Nov 3, 2013 4:26pm EST
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By Angel Krasimirov

SOFIA (Reuters) - Unheralded Romanian Simona Halep is vowing to keep the fun factor in her game following her victory in the Tournament of Champions on Sunday at the end of a breakthrough season on the women's tour.

The 22-year-old won the season-ending event in Sofia on Sunday, beating former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur 2-6 6-2 6-2 in a thrilling final to cap a remarkable six months which has lifted her to number 11 in the world rankings.

After a mediocre start to the year, Halep caught fire in June, winning titles at Nurnberg, Den Bosch and Budapest, then adding crowns at New Haven and Moscow to become the only player to taste success on three different surfaces this season.

With increasing success comes more expectation, but Halep, who came from 3-0 down in the final set against Serbia's Ana Ivanovic in the semi-finals, said she was not going to make ambitious plans at the expense of enjoying her time on court.

"Next year will be tough because I'll have to defend all the points," Halep, who started the week ranked 14th in the world, told a news conference.

"But I don't want to make any plans. I won a lot of titles this season, I played really well and it's not going to be easy next season. I just want to enjoy my time on the WTA tour and to feel the pleasure in every moment on the court."

Halep's sixth career title did not come without its problems, however, as she was easily brushed aside in the opening set by Australian Stosur in just 31 minutes.

She found her range in the second and went on to win 20 of the final 26 points, finishing the match with a forehand down the line to clinch the $270,000 prize.   Continued...

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates defeating Samantha Stosur of Australia during the WTA Tournament of Champions final match in Sofia November 3, 2013. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov