Caroline Wozniacki storms into first Australian Open closing

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki celebrates after defeating Belgium's Elise Mertens in their semifinal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne Australia Thursday Jan. 25 2018

Wozniacki won her first grand slam title when the Dane beat Simona Halep 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-4 in an epic Australian Open final Saturday that featured the world's two highest ranked players.

On a broiling day in Melbourne, the second-seeded Wozniacki outdueled Halep in a match that lasted almost three hours to become the first player from Denmark to win a Grand Slam singles event.

Despite the hard conditions, the second seed won by 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-4 and landed her first major title after 43 attempts.

For all her success in tennis, from holding the No. 1 ranking for more than a year to winning 27 titles, one question had plagued Caroline Wozniacki's career.

In Halep's case, she was the first player who had saved match points in multiple matches.

"I can still smile". It was an incredible match, an incredible fight - I'm sorry. "She had actually more energy in the end".

Wozniacki trailed by a break deep in the third set, too, against Halep before claiming the final three games. The next year, 2011 when Wozniacki also finished the year No. 1, Serena due to injury didn't play her first event until June, then after only six tournaments ended her year after the US Open.

Wozniacki's stirring victory completed one of sport's great comeback tales after the 27-year-old spiralled to 74th in the world in August 2016, just 23 months after falling short in her second US Open final.

After her win, an emotional Wozniacki said she had been dreaming of this moment for years. Halep's errors caught up with her and a pro Wozniacki crowd helped boost the Dane who was also contesting her third career Grand Slam final. "I know that today is a tough day".

"Of course, I'm sad I could not win today but Caroline was better than me and for sure I will fight and I have many years to go so, hopefully, I will face another challenge like this today".

'I want to congratulate Caroline, you played wonderful. "I'm very excited for that".

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She said: "Obviously that's very special".

Both Halep and Wozniacki had previously lost two Grand Slam finals — Halep twice at the French Open and Wozniacki twice at the U.S. Open.

She, thereafter, held her service game to take the second set 6-3.

Romanians in the terraces went ballistic at the breakthrough, but were silenced as Wozniacki feasted on her opponent's weakening second serve, a fiery return pushing her 2-0 ahead in the decider.

"Once she had set points".

Both had saved match points on their way to the final in what had been a brilliant final, but it was Wozniacki who grabbed the most win of all.

In the third it turned out that nothing could stop Denmark's Wozniacki, not even pain in her leg below the knee. "She played incredible all tournament", Halep said graciously in defeat.

"We've been through ups and downs but you stood by my side every step of the way".

Looking back to her second-round victory over Jana Fett, when she saved two match points and came back from 5-1 down in the third set, Wozniacki said: "From being nearly out of the tournament to sitting here with the Australian Open trophy, it's incredible".

Halep was struggling physically but kept her resolve to level the match. I still stick with these predictions based on what I have seen this tournament.

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