SHENZHEN (Reuters) – Simona Halep said she deserved a dressing-down from coach Darren Cahill after he branded the Romanian a disgrace in her 6-0 2-6 6-4 defeat by Karolina Pliskova at the WTA Finals on Friday.
Halep lost a see-saw battle with the Czech to exit the end-of-season championship after the group phase, while Pliskova will meet Australia’s world number one Ashleigh Barty in the semi-finals on Saturday.
“It was a little bit of an impact for me,” said Halep, who recently resumed working with Australian Cahill after the pair split late last year.
“But I’m pretty sure that I deserved (it) because I was not calm. I changed something in my attitude. Everyone knows that I’m working on that.”
Wimbledon champion Halep made a horrendous start to the match, surrendering the first set before steadying herself to claim the second.
She then won the first two games of the third before allowing Pliskova to regain a foothold in the match, prompting the dressing down for the 28-year-old from her coach.
“Simo? Simo, look at me. The last three games you’ve been a disgrace on the court,” Cahill told Halep.
“Come on, you cannot win the match doing what you’ve been doing the last three games. You’ve got to reel it in.
“Get your focus back between the lines.
“For no reason, you’ve lost it here, you’re losing energy and you’re losing depth on your shots. So you have a chance to define yourself now in this set. Forget the result: How are you going to finish this match? It’s up to you.”
However, Pliskova won the decider to keep alive her chances of winning the $14m tournament while ending Halep’s season.
The Romanian still believes the return of Cahill will help her hit the heights she reached in claiming her second Grand Slam title earlier this year when she added the Wimbledon crown to the French Open she won last year.
“I feel more confident for what’s coming up,” she said. “I am motivated. I’m fresh mentally, even if it ended like this at this tournament. I don’t feel exhausted like last year. It’s a good sign.
“But I need a holiday. I need a holiday to just forget about everything, then I’ll be ready for the off-season.”
(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Tony Lawrence and Ken Ferris)