Coming from a player whose mental strength has often been questioned, the gesture spoke volume.
Garbine Muguruza charged ominously into the French Open semifinals with a masterful thrashing of Maria Sharapova. Halep pointed her right index finger at her temple when she eventually completed a 6-7 (2) 6-3 6-2 comeback to reach the semifinals, too.
"It was really about the mental", Halep said. "I think I've developed a lot as a tennis player". "My head won it".
Garbine Muguruza thrashed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-1 to reach the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday, June 6, condemning the Russian to her worst Grand Slam defeat in more than 6 years.
That might very well have been a relief to 10-time champion Rafael Nadal, who was not at his best and dropped a French Open set for the first time since 2015. Like Sharapova, Halep was erratic early, making 30 unforced errors in the first set.
"After the first set I just stayed strong, I did not give up at all", Halep said.
"I rushed too much at the beginning", Halep told a news conference. Keys predicted, "I'm going to have to be the one to try to open up the court and go for my shots". "Then I changed a little bit of tactics and it worked".
The former world number one drilled a backhand victor down the line to hold again in the next game, the 28th seed clenching her fist as she walked to the chair. Halep increased her level in the second set and gained confidence thanks to an immediate break. That match lasted a total of 35 games, marking the longest women's semifinal at the Australian Open in the Open era.
Novak Djokovic Falls at the French Open
How hard is it to accept defeat in such good grace in the same manner as you can accept victory? 'I need to - I don't know. The 10th seed produced a clinical performance to down Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1 on Court Philippe Chatrier, firing 17 winners.
The Romanian is chasing a first Grand Slam title having lost the final of this event a year ago to Jelena Ostapenko.
It was not enough, however, as Wimbledon champion Muguruza bulldozed her way through the rest of the set to secure her place in the semi-finals. She hurried up her strokes and easily Halep sealed the eight win in as many matches against a lefty opponent and against a top 20 player this season.
On Wednesday, Halep looked anything but the top seed, slipping 4-0 down in the first set before she rallied to defeat Kerber, a two-time major victor who had exited in the first round in Paris in the last two years.
But they hadn't played since 2014, back before Muguruza was as confident and successful as she is these days. "So I think that's why I won today", she told the media. I think she was the aggressive one. "But when we get on the court, it's go time and it's time to compete and you have to put everything else aside, and you have to compete at your best". Muguruza sensed weakness and pounced for a 4-0 lead.
But Stephens has yet to lose a set to Keys in their two previous meetings and Keys has come through a very open quarter of the draw that was supposed to be anchored by No.4 Elina Svitolina.
"I was focusing on winning every point, every game", Muguruza said.
Sharapova and Williams were due to clash in the fourth round on Monday but the American pulled out at the last minute of their eagerly-awaited grudge match with injury.
Muguruza advanced in the fourth round when Lesia Tsurenko retired after just two games, but her recent run has still been impressive with only five lost games in her last three rounds, including a 6-0, 6-2 win over Samantha Stosur in Round 3. Let's say once again I exit a Grand Slam disappointed and frustrated, because I know I could do better.