Denmark’s Wozniacki Wins Australian Open

Denmark’s Wozniacki Wins Australian OpenDenmark’s Wozniacki Wins Australian Open

Caroline Wozniacki is the 2018 Australian Open champion after an enthralling battle between two great baseline warriors ended 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-4 with raw emotion from both players, but at brave Simona Halep’s expense.

In hot and humid conditions on Rod Laver Arena, a match that lasted two hours and 49 minutes was not just a test of tennis, and nerve, but of courage and will. The first major women’s final in the Open era between two women who had saved match points to get there was decided on the first with a netted Halep backhand.

According to the tournament website, Denmark’s Wozniacki, twice a US Open runner-up, flung her racquet into the air and fell sobbing to the court. How much it meant to her, and how utterly devastating for Halep, a two-time French Open finalist, to have lost.

The Romanian top seed buried her head in a towel as Wozniacki climbed up to her player box to greet a team that included her father and coach Piotr, and fiance David Lee. Only three women have made more Grand Slam appearances before winning a title than Wozniacki’s 43.

But what a momentous staying effort, too, from Halep, having saved match points in two different matches en route to the final: three in that record-equaling epic against Lauren Davis and two in the 9-7 semifinal thriller against Angelique Kerber two days earlier.

The type of contest many had expected was perhaps even better than that, for the quality was outstanding, and how little between them summed up by a total points tally of 110 to 108.

The No.1 ranking was also on the line but that was not the main prize. Both had been there or, in Halep’s case, carried the number into the final. There was a $4 million cheque as well, but it was all about the title. Everything to do with shrugging off the gorilla on the shoulders that was a zero in the column for the number of Grand Slams.

Nevertheless, Wozniacki’s bonus is that she will on Monday return to the summit for the first time in exactly six years, a World Tennis Association record gap, having spent 67 weeks there from 2010-12. Always, though, there was the caveat that she had not won a Slam. Now, at the age of 27, she has.

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