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Simona Halep Details ‘Panic‘ During Second-Round Loss in French Open

Following her stunning elimination from the French Open on Thursday, Simona Halep revealed she suffered a panic attack during her second-round loss at Court Simonne-Mathieu.

Halep, the tournament’s 19th seed and a former world No. 1, halted her match against Zheng Qinwen, 19, of China to receive medical attention after taking an early lead following the first set. The match’s momentum would soon shift upon returning to action as Zheng went on to defeat the two-time Grand Slam champion 2–6, 6–2, 6–1.

“Yeah, it was a difficult one. I was playing well at the start. I had a break in the second set but then something happened and I just lost it,” Halep explained to reporters after the match. “But she’s playing well and, actually, she played a good match in the end.”

She continued, “Probably I put pressure on myself too much because I really wanted to do well. I felt good, I practiced, I worked hard, but it just didn’t happen and probably I got a little bit of panic during that thinking, overthinking.”

Thursday’s match was the second between Halep and Zheng this year. Halep previously defeated the up-and-comer in straight sets in Zheng’s major debut at the Australian Open in January. In addition to winning the rematch, Zheng’s upset in Paris also marked her first career win over a top-20 player, nearly a year after making her WTA debut.

Though her run at Roland-Garros is now over, Halep appeared to be in good spirits as she continues her quest for her second singles title of the season. The 2018 Roland-Garros champion confirmed her panic attack was not the result of a medical condition before expressing her optimism for the future.

“I didn’t know how to handle it because I don’t have it often,” Halep said. “I couldn’t focus. After the match was pretty tough but now I’m good. I’m recovered and I will learn from this episode. It’s nothing dangerous in my opinion but it happened, so, it’s good that now I can smile.”

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