Caroline Wozniacki is finally a Grand Slam champion, clinching her first major title and securing a return to world No. 1 with a 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4 win over top seed Simona Halep in a thrilling Australian Open final on Saturday night.
"To be here today is a dream come true".
The Dane, who saved match points in her second-round win over Jana Fett, will regain the top ranking next week for the first time in six years.
Sensing her moment as Halep served for survival, Wozniacki fired a searing forehand victor to edge a 16-shot rally for match point and then held on grimly until the Romanian finally buckled. "And like I said, I didn't give up, which meant a lot, and that's how I won the match".
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"I've dreamt of this moment for so many years", she said. "I was thinking: "'OK, I'm looking over there, she looks a little exhausted, she must be feeling the exact same way or maybe more exhausted than me". "My dad has been there from the start and we took the journey together", she said.
"But I think for the past year and a half, I've proved that I can beat anyone out there on court".
But she did that in the first set of today's match via a tie-break, before Halep ensured that it would go the distance. It's just a tennis match in the end. These two deserve everyone's attention, and I'm sure they're going to show off everything they've got. "Sad that I couldn't make it the third time, maybe the fourth time will be with luck". She broke Wozniacki for a 4-3 lead, but lost momentum after Wozniacki's medical time out.
She took out No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina in straight sets in the quarterfinal but was struggling to match a consistent Wozniacki until late in the second set. She went to advantage in two matches, fending off match points in both those matches before going on to win.
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But it was the one-time NY marathon runner who finally prevailed, with Wozniacki emerging from a 10-minute break allowed under the Open's heat rule to claim the rollercoaster third set featuring seven services breaks. But she began getting tight when she was serving for the match at 5-4: From 30-15, she double-faulted twice and Mertens passed her with a forehand victor in between to level the set at 5-5. I think it will be a very close match where the finest margins will decide.
"It's really tough work every day, thank you for being by my side every time and also to my family, the people that are watching at home".
"I remember serving for it at 5-4 in the second set". I don't know what happened. But, yeah, I'm really sad I couldn't win it.
Congratulations to Wozniacki on her first major victory.
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