Halep, Wozniacki for 1st Grand Slam Title at Australian Open and No. 1 Ranking
by Staff | January 25th, 2018, 8:50 am
  • 20 Comments

Australian Open organizers got their dream final on Thursday in Melbourne when world No. 1 Simona Halep and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki advance to the championship match, where one player will win their first Grand Slam title with the No. 1 ranking also on the line.


Halep advanced after a marathon 6-3, 4-6, 9-7 win over No. 21 seed and former No. 1 Angie Kerber, who has been the hottest player on tour in January.

“I feel proud that I could stay there and fight till the end,” Halep said. “So it’s a nice feeling. I’m looking forward for the last match of this tournament.”

Halep had lost four of the last five to Kerber, and history was looking to repeat itself after the Romanian blew two match points, then was forced to save two match points before closing out the 9-7 fifth set. Like her win over Karolina Pliskova, Halep preyed on the forehand wing of Kerber until it collapsed.

“I was aggressive,” she said. “I had this in my mind, and I wanted to finish the points quicker, but was not that easy with her. She’s moving very well.”

Wozniacki in her semifinal defeated unseeded Belgian surprise Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-6(2) with her patented defence, forcing Mertens into three times the errors off the forehand wing than the Dane, but not without some obvious nerves.

“I got really tight at 5-4,” Wozniacki said of the second set where she threw in some key double faults, including game point. “I felt like I was hitting against a wall…I tried to stay calm and I was lucky to get the win. Once she had set points, I said to myself, ‘I guess it’s a third set,’ so I just had to go for it.”

The 22-year-old Mertens entered the match 10-0 in 2018 and was appearing in just her fifth Grand Slam main draw.

“It’s a mixed feeling,” said Mertens, who will shoot into the Top 20 on the WTA rankings and have her choice of tournaments throughout the remainder of 2018. “Of course you lost the match, but of course also I’m very happy that I’m in the semifinal for the first time. I gave everything today until the last point. Of course, 5-4, 30-0, you think, ‘Oh!’ But she was just slightly better than me today.”

On court after the match Wozniacki apologized to her father in the stands.

“I’m sorry,” Wozniacki said. “When I started on tour my dad had dark hair, now it’s all grey.”


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20 Comments for Halep, Wozniacki for 1st Grand Slam Title at Australian Open and No. 1 Ranking

Truthsquad Says:

One of them will finally shed the label of “#1 player never to win a major”


t4t Says:

I am rooting for Halep.


Van_Persie Says:

I seriously think to skip the final on Saturday…was the 2nd time at this tournament, where I wanted a Halep’s match to be over, no matter how…..too much for me. Who knows, I might reconsider….


Van Persie Says:

I seriously think to skip the final on Saturday…was the 2nd time at this tournament, where I wanted a Halep’s match to be over, no matter how…..too much for me. Who knows, I might reconsider….


RZ Says:

VP – keep in mind that Halep played 2 matches efficiently after her previous long match against Davis. I expect her to be recovered from yesterday’s long match and be ready for the final.


Van Persie Says:

RZ,

I only think, I will not survive a 3rd marathon….and I love thrillers and horrors.lol
But have to admit today’s match, was a beautiful one


Willow Says:

Would love Simona to win the title, her games more interesting that Carolines, having said that Caros such a fighter and competitor, and anyway whomever wins this we are guaranteed a world number 1 on the WTA, thats also GS champion ….


Chris Ford Says:

Fans absolutely got their money’s worth and then some in the Kerber-Halep semis contest. Hate that one had to lose…is a cliche` but so true for those two in that high quality battle.
And nice that Halep and Wozniacki are going to see one of them finally with a Grand Slam. I think the quality and intensity of the sport goes up when the overwhelmingly dominant Serena is away – and that is better for the sport than wishing the whole womans side was only about Serena and her Slamcount.

I look forward to Fed-Hyeong. Could be a good match.
And the winner of that faces a guy that plays well enough to beat Fed or play him razor close. Cilic is a quiet guy, gets no where near the buzz of Dimitrov, Delpo, Kei Nishikori. Mr. Canada, Zverev or Thiem but is as good as any of them and happy to always be under the radar.


RZ Says:

I like both ladies in the final and will be happy for either one to win. Having said that, I am leaning slightly more toward Caro, simply because I think Simona has an excellent chance to win the French this year (and in future years) and being a contender at all the slams, but don’t see Caro having another chance.


BBB Says:

This will be a tough pick! I’ll be happy for either one. I agree with RZ that Woz won’t likely have another chance. At the same time, her passive game drives me bonkers. The world is crazy when someone 5’9″ is a retriever and those who are 5’2 rip winners.


Margot Says:

Simona for me.


BBB Says:

Her FO loss was heartbreaking.


Chris Ford Says:

BBB- I agree it might be Carline’s last chance but she and her coach daddy put one of the most athletic and talented players in woman’s pro tennis that position. It’s even worse for Vika Azarenka. 6 feet tall, and Belarus saw her as a fine Olympic prospect in several sports on speed, strength, and overall athleticism. And her move to a US training program came out with a deadly good baseliner who couldn’t serve for shit. And add another scream for Azarenka being able to ditch passive play and having mad net skills and she can’t come in on either serve.

Halep and Kerber get every bit out of what their bodies can do playing the sport.

And I agree with those who give Halep good chances at the French Open. She is intelligent and comes closer than but 2-3 other women players in being like Martia Hingis in point construction.


BBB Says:

Agree CF. Halep’s worst trait is her attitude, she knows it, and she is working very hard on it. I admire that.


Daniel Says:

Wow, saw the last set on my TV now and it was amazing. They were not going for the lines much hence many long rallies but even so, hardly any errors and both fighting so hard. Awesome!

Cheering for Halep now!


Andrew Miller Says:

Glad to see both. I’d like to see both with slams by year’s end. Very surprised last year’s slam champs showed little fight this tournament. But, new year, new champ. Very deserving too.


Chris Ford Says:

Andrew – The Queen will be back for Indian Wells, leaving the ‘lil one’ at home. Then womans tennis will be all about Serena to the media, her comeback, each Slam the Serena Tennis Channel. She could duplicate Clijsters and be a winner again. And ride the publicity wagon with a big win or two all the way to retirement, which is gonna happen with a 2nd kid and her ‘advanced tennis age’.
Politically, Serena is an empowered black woman AND recent mother, a champion and star and model in an age where PC is demanding that, and plus-size models – so she pushes a number of the PC buttons. Buttons that will get the owners, producers of sports media product, commentators, ‘color’ people, and jock appearance bookers and tournament organizers in Full Moon Serena Frenzy. It’s pretty PC out there.
Witness the Billy Jean King effort a la the Soviets and rRed Chinese to make Margaret Smith Court a non-person, wipe her from history..because the woman said her religious faith believes ‘gay is sinful’.
To…..
The Journey of the GOATS into retirement for 2 years likely. And the rest of tennis merely sideshow things in the background.


Gayle Says:

Go Roger Federer, you’re my favorite Tennis Player since I watched you on the Tennis Courts! Good Luck to you!
Gayle!


Amit Says:

Halep is more beautiful in my view and that alone makes her the player I would root for! 😈😅😅😅


Sebastian Says:

Chair Empire should be banned for life following that wrongful overrule in the final game

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