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Halep benefiting from lack of attention


NEW YORK—Simona Halep is enjoying the relative lack of attention she has received so far at the U.S. Open, despite being the second seed at the tournament. The Romanian fell in the second round a year ago, uncomfortable with being one of the title contenders, and has performed poorly at the majors this season.

“I think because I did finals in Roland Garros, and then semifinals a year ago, maybe everyone was thinking that I have to win this one. So it was tough,” the 23-year-old said. “This year it’s more quiet around me, so it’s good. I feel good. Normally I don’t have to hear the people around me. I have just to hear my coach, my team, and just what I have to do on court to be focused for that.”

Halep, who came in having reached the finals of Cincinnati and Toronto, sees herself in a good position at Flushing Meadows. “It’s a good result already for me,” she said after her third-round win. “So I feel happy. I feel confident. I feel that I have chances this tournament.”

This time, however, Halep wants to keep swinging. “When you go on court and you play with someone higher than you in the ranking, you say, I have nothing to lose. Is normal. If I lose, doesn’t matter because she is better than me in the ranking,” she said. “But now I am second. Always when I go on court, I’m better than everyone except Serena ranked. And it’s not easy to go. You feel the pressure. But still I think that I have nothing to lose every match I go.”

Halep, who beat Sabine Lisicki in three sets on a hot Monday at the U.S. Open, will face No. 20 Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals.