Wozniacki seals spot in Australian Open final

Alfred Osborne
January 25, 2018

Wozniacki is in her first grand slam final since the 2014 US Open, and she hopes to win her first career grand slam title.

Wozniacki, who secured her place in Saturday's final by beating Belgium's Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-6, lost both her previous Grand Slam finals at the US Open, to Kim Clijsters in 2009 and to Serena Williams five years later.

For Halep, it's a first major final beyond the clay courts of Roland Garros.

Mertens converted her third break point chance of the match before the newly confident Belgian held easily.

For Wozniacki, it's her first Grand Slam final outside of America.

Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep meet in the final of the 2018 Australian Open.

Mertens dominated, leading 5-2 in the first set. But her number-one world ranking is at stake here: If Halep loses this match, Caroline Wozniacki (see below) becomes the new world's best. Halep could have easily lost her semifinal match after getting down a break in the third set, but she dug deep and showed that she has come a long way in terms of her mental approach under coach Darren Cahill.

"It's just another match", she said.

"I always believed in myself", the Dane said. "I'm glad I could resist". However, Wozniacki was just too strong and exhibited some aggressive tennis to win the set 6-3. They've played once; Wozniacki won, but it took her three sets. "I felt like I was hitting against a wall", Wozniacki said after the match.

And she admitted that moment was on her mind in the dying stages: 'It means so much to me.

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"I'm underdog, as [I was] today".

Even his buildup for Melbourne was brief: first-round losses in India and at Auckland, New Zealand.

The German defeated Madison Keys in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 in the quarter-finals, although Halep impressed herself in the previous round, ousting sixth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-2 to make the last four of this tournament for the first time in her career.

"She didn't give me opportunities. I played really well".

It wasn't too different for Kerber, who was the only major victor still in the women's draw after she beat Maria Sharapova in the third round. "I'm shaking, I'm very emotional". "It was just a battle at the end".

Mertens, in only her fifth Grand Slam appearance and Australian Open debut, signalled her intent to attack from the start, standing inside the baseline to receive Wozniacki's second serve. Mertens' inexperience clearly got the better of her as she was not able to replicate her form over the last two weeks.

But then the jitters struck and she threw in some double faults on the way to handing world No 37 Mertens a way back into the match. She had two set points before Wozniacki eventually held in a service game lasting 8 ½ minutes to force a tiebreaker. "I was nervous. Once she had set points".

"I'm just proud that I managed to stay cool and finish it off in the third set".

Svitolina revealed she had been troubled by a hip injury since winning the Brisbane International and will discuss with her team whether to take a break from the tour. "It's probably the first time I've done well on my own, so there's more attention there". Safely in the main draw for this year's Australian Open, Mertens returned to Hobart — and won the title again.

These two have played six times and Wozniacki has won four of those meetings. "It was definitely very close, the turning point", he said.

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