In a battle of top 2, Wozniacki beats Halep to win Australian Open, earns top rank

Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep, tennis, WTA, Rankings, Australian Open, Melbourne Park, Grand Slam, Rohan Bopanna
In a battle of top 2, Wozniacki beats Halep to win Australian Open, earns top rank

The emotion, joy, expression and the tears said it all as Caroline Wozniacki succumbed on the court after Simona Halep hit an unforced error on the net. It took the second ranked women tennis player 12 and a half years, 28 titles and 811 matches to win her first Grand Slam title as she defeated the top ranked Simona Halep, who was also playing for her maiden Slam, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4.

The Tour Final 2017 winner will dethrone her final opponent when the rankings are announced on Monday.

The second seed won 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-4 in punishing conditions to finally land a major title at the 43rd attempt.

Nine years after her first Grand Slam final defeat, and 17 months after she was ranked 74th, the Dane was overcome.

Wozniacki had saved match points in her second round match

The victory means the 27-year-old will replace Halep as number one in the world rankings on Monday.

Twice a runner-up at the US Open, Wozniacki becomes the first Dane to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Halep, too, had been hoping to end the wait for a first major title to add to her number one ranking, but she has now lost in the Australian Open final as well as two French Opens.

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Both women had endured testing paths to the final, saving match points along the way, and at times looked on the point of exhaustion in a gripping final set.

Wozniacki deservedly took the opener in a tie-break, having let a 4-1 lead slip, and Halep appeared in trouble when she required treatment from the doctor midway through the second set.

However, after having her blood pressure taken, the Romanian returned to take three of the four next games, levelling at one set all with a forehand winner.

The heat rule was in effect should either player wish to use it, and Halep took the chance to halt proceedings for 10 minutes and allow both finalists to head off court in search of air-conditioning.

Halep had now spent over 13 hours on court during the tournament, while Wozniacki – who saved two match points against Jana Fett in round two – was approaching 12 hours.

The final set was a huge test of mind and body, and it produced some thrilling tennis.

After twice breaking serve to edge ahead, Wozniacki looked to have let another Grand Slam chance slip away when she fell a break down at 4-3 in the decider and needed treatment to a knee injury.

Instead, Wozniacki was the one who grabbed the moment, playing superbly in the final three games.

Women’s Doubles

In women’s doubles, Indian player Rohan Bopanna’s partner for mixed doubles, Timea Babos and her partner Kristina Mladenovic beat Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina to win the title.

France’s Mladenovic and Hungarian Babos, both 24, took 81 minutes to dispatch the second seeds 6-4, 6-3 in Friday’s final.

Timea Babos and her partner Kristina Mladenovic won the women’s doubles title

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