What Does Caroline Wozniacki’s Australian Open Title Mean for 2018? And Serena?
by Jeremy Davis | January 27th, 2018, 12:59 pm

There would be a first-time Grand Slam winner between the two long-time slamless players in the 2018 Australian Open final. And it was Caroline Wozniacki holding her nerve to win Saturday in Melbourne, in the process taking back the No. 1 ranking for the first time in six years.
The Woz triumphed 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4, in steamy conditions in Rod Laver Arena that had both players battling fatigue and injuries and keeping the courtside trainers on their toes.

Both players would tell you they felt lucky to be there. Between them they fought off seven match points en route to the final, the first players to ever reach a Slam final with both staving off match points.

Wozniacki was 0-2 in career Slam finals, both at the US Open. Halep was 0-2 in Slam finals, both at the French Open.

It wasn’t about the WTA No. 1 ranking, which has become a meaningless merry-go-round of different faces in the absence of Serena Williams. Coming into Melbourne, six different players could have left as No. 1.

It was about leaving behind the tag “never won a Grand Slam.” That, and pocketing $4 million.

“I’ve dreamt of this moment for so many years and to be here today is a dream come true,” Wozniacki said. “My voice is shaky. I never cry, but today it’s a very emotional moment.”

Halep is now 0-3 in Slam finals, but you can’t say the loss was a career downturn. She fought through an ankle injury and cramping during the final, and smiled afterwards answering media questions. It was a decided 360 from her other Slam losses.

“I cried, but now I’m smiling,” said Halep, who with coach Darren Cahill and a solid team around her could yet win a first Slam in 2018. “It is just a tennis match in the end. I’m really sad I couldn’t win it. I was close again, but the gas was over in the end.”

ESPN commentator Chris Evert, 0-3 in her first three Slam finals, noted before the match that both players had set the basis for a strong 2018 campaign.

But time to address the elephant in the room — Serena Williams, who is set to make her WTA return from maternity leave at Indian Wells.

Wozniacki’s success has always coincided with Serena’s absences from the tour. The Dane first rose to No. 1 in 2010 when Serena didn’t play for almost four months after the Australian Open, then hung up her season after Wimbledon due to injury. 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.

In 2012 Victoria Azarenka’s breakout year saw the Belarussian finish the year No. 1. In 2013 Serena returned to full power, ending the year No. 1 in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

What does this all mean for Wozniacki, Halep, and the rest of the Slam hopefuls approaching the French, Wimbledon and US Open this year?

It means Serena wants what’s hers. Probably not No. 1 in 2018 after missing the first couple months, but Slam titles.

Her pal Wozniacki in the meantime can bask in the Australian Open sunlight. Serena after the final wrote on social media, “I got too nervous to watch but woke up to @CaroWozniacki new number one and aussie open champ. So awesome. So happy. Are those tears? Yup they are — from a year ago to today I’m so proud my friend so proud. Literally can’t even sleep now.”

It’s easy to be buds with a player you are 10-1 against. Serena is 8-1 against Halep.

The Indian Wells-Miami swing will be a big measurement of who is ready to compete for No. 1 in 2018, and who, if anyone, can hold off Serena Williams.

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4 Comments for What Does Caroline Wozniacki’s Australian Open Title Mean for 2018? And Serena?

chrisford Says:

Rod Laver Arena erupted when Halep netted the last shot of the match.
For some reason, Wozniacki is hugely popular with the Aussies, and not just the guys.
Glad she got it. Now we see will see what endorsement deals are going to head her way.

Simona Halep? I think her time will happen. Love her play
and for her being a very bright, nice, and humble person/

Humble Rafa Says:

In a match of mental midgets, one mental midget has to win. Best thing for Simona is to find a weaker mental midget in the final. Will happen sooner than we think. More mental midgets are created every day. Think about it, this girl gave up size of some parts to be a good tennis player.


Chris Ford Says:

Halep had too much of a good thing. In most situations, too much of a good thing as relates to human body parts is a deformity, a grotesque appearance detraction, a physical impediment, even a handicap.

Simona’s breast development was so extreme it became an impediment that threatened her ability to be a successful athlete. That would have been true in most sports.

Got too much manly male chin? You could be in a circus sideshow awaiting plastic surgery. Same with a man with a 45cm phallus who also has the curse of it being too big to function and mocked for it by fellow prisoners in Brazil. Guys like a woman with a thick head of hair – until it is so much and in so many places she is known as “wolf girl” and has to buy a dozen razors a week. Women with huge buttocks were disparaged until black rap singers made it clear there there was no such thing as too much butt fat on a woman – if you want to call that progress.

True that both Wozniacki and Halep have mental strength challenges – especially at crunch time or in fixing flaws in their game, or in their situational awareness out there. Maybe the woman’s game is more so than on the mens side, just don’t get caught saying it if you work for Google or a liberal US politician or an EU administrator. Still, the men’s side has gifted us with some great mental midgets as well – like Berdych and Monfils.

RZ Says:

Congrats to Wozniacki!

What an incredible tournament for the women. So many close matches. Wozniacki, Kerber, and Halep in particular showed a lot of grit and fight during their matches.

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