Simona Halep admitted that she suffered a panic attack during her French Open defeat.
Halep, the 2018 champion, fell to big-serving Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen, playing just her second Slam, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
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The 30-year-old was a set and break up but said she didn’t know what to do after the panic attack took hold.
🗣️ "It was a difficult one"
No.19 @Simona_Halep reflects on her elimination today#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/HobuVPihKc
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 26, 2022
A pair of visits from the physio did not help Halep stem the tide in the decider.
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Halep lost 11 of the last 12 games against her 19-year-old opponent. Zheng cruised through the final set, where she went 13-for-13 on her first-service points.
“It’s just a tennis match, so I have to see it a little bit more relaxed,” Halep said.
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“Probably put pressure on myself too much, because I really wanted to do well. I felt good. I practice. I work hard. But just didn’t happen, and probably I got a little bit of panic during that thinking, overthinking.”
“I don’t have it often. I don’t really know why it happened, because I was leading the match. I was playing well. But it just happened and as I said, I lost it. I couldn’t focus.
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“After the match was pretty tough but now I’m good. I’m recovered and I will learn from this episode.”
Halep’s exit was the latest high-profile defeat in the women’s draw.
Two rounds in, only three of the top-10 seeds are still on contention.
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Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova stunned 6-2 6-2 by French world number 227 Leolia Jeanjean.
Ninth seed Danielle Collins was another seed to fall on Thursday as she lost 6-4, 6-3 to fellow American Shelby Rogers.
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Eighth-seeded Pliskova and Collins joined fellow top 10 players, defending champion Barbora Krejcikova, Maria Sakkari, Ons Jabeur, Anett Kontaveit and former winner Garbine Muguruza in failing to reach the last 32.