February 19, 2018

Caroline Wozniacki storms into first Australian Open closing

27 January 2018, 09:31 | Randolph Howard

Caroline Wozniacki storms into first Australian Open closing

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki kisses her trophy after defeating Romania's Simona Halep during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne Australia Saturday

By the time she entered Rod Laver Arena on a stiflingly hot evening, she had clocked up almost two more hours on court than second seed Wozniacki.

She is the world No 1, is about to play her third grand slam final and has won 16 WTA tournaments.

Improved her previous year's tally of 62 match wins, winning 63 matches in 2011 and spent all but one week of the year as number one, winning six titles along the way.

"This is a moment you've got to savour as a tennis player forever".

As one commentator aptly described it, it was a "furious and glorious" match, played for the most part at a breakneck tempo, with a fervent, pulsating atmosphere as both players gave everything they had in the pursuit of a Grand Slam final.

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Caroline Wozniacki reacts after winning a point. This is her first Grand Slam semifinal (and Wozniacki's seventh).

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki smiles at a press conference with her trophy after defeating Romania's Simona Halep in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbour
Caroline Wozniacki storms into first Australian Open closing

Halep should have won that point, with Wozniacki scampering from one side of the court to the other just to keep the ball in play before she produced a stunning cross-court backhand that caught her opponent on the hop and led to a smashed victor.

A third grand slam defeat is a bitter pill to swallow but few will doubt Simona Halep's determination after losing to Caroline Wozniacki in an astonishing Australian Open final. Halep's aggression is evident in her 81 forehand and 40 backhand winners so far in the tournament.

Perhaps the starkest difference between the two competitions is that, since 2005, there have only been four world number ones. "I have no contract now, I'm still with no brand clothes", Halep said at the start of the 2018 Australian Open. I don't know. And also will she have the drive to keep on practising as much and do as much as she does right now? But I served pretty well in the service games, and then I got confident again. "Hopefully I will face another challenge like today". Whoever wins will be a first-time Grand Slam champion. Of course I am sad but Caroline was better than me. No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 6-2 Halep def.

Wozniacki wept tears of joy after also returning to the top of the rankings - ending a record six-year stint between stints - with the watershed win at Melbourne Park. "I'm sorry I had to win today but I'm sure we'll have many matches in the future".

Completed the 2014 New York Marathon in a time of three hours 26 minutes 33 seconds. Wozniacki saved two against unseeded Jana Fett in the second round.

Wozniacki broke straight back to lead 3-1, but just minutes later she trailed 4-3 in what was becoming a truly gripping final set. If she can stay with her, she can take her.

The No. 37-ranked Mertens lifted her intensity, holding her serve at love and then having two set points in the next game before Wozniacki eventually held in a serving game lasting 8 ½ minutes.

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