MELBOURNE, Australia — It took Caroline Wozniacki 43 majors and two failed makes an attempt in finals earlier than lastly claiming her first Grand Slam singles title.
One of many first issues she did as a champion was apologize to top-seeded Simona Halep following her 7-6 (2), Three-6, 6-Four win within the Australian Open ultimate on Saturday night time.
“I am sorry, I am simply taking a second to hug Daphne,” Wozniacki stated, pausing as she clutched the winner’s trophy within the on-court ceremony. “I dreamt of this second so a few years, to be right here now it is a dream come true.”
Greater than seven years after showing in her first Grand Slam ultimate on the 2009 U.S. Open — a straight units loss to Serena Williams — Wozniacki can lastly erase the “however by no means received a serious” footnote that has lengthy been hooked up to her resume.
“I am by no means going to get the query once more about being a world No. 1 and not using a Slam,” she stated after leaving the court docket.
Wozniacki will regain the highest rating subsequent week for the primary time in six years — beating Serena Williams’ report of 5 years, 29 days between stints at No. 1 on the ladies’s tour — in one other advantage of beating the top-seeded Halep.
Neil Diamond’s “Candy Caroline” performed over the stadium audio system because the 27-year-old Danish participant carried the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup round Rod Laver Enviornment.
Wozniacki misplaced two U.S. Open finals — in ’09 and 2014 — and Halep misplaced two French Open finals earlier than their assembly at Melbourne Park.
It was the primary time within the Open period that gamers ranked No. 1 and a pair of have been assembly in a serious ultimate with out both having received a Grand Slam title.
So the stress was on.
It was the primary time within the Open period that each Australian Open finalists had saved match factors earlier than reaching the ultimate, additionally, so in some methods the stress was off.
In Halep’s case, she was the primary participant who had saved match factors in a number of matches to have reached the ultimate. She saved triple match level and rallied within the third set to beat Laura Davis 15-13 within the third set of her third-round match, and likewise wanted to save lots of match factors in her semifinal in opposition to Angelique Kerber.
Wozniacki saved match factors in her second-round win over Jana Fett and later stated she was relaxed as a result of for the remainder of the event she was “taking part in with the home cash.”
So each gamers rolled the cube within the 2-hour, 49-minute ultimate, which featured some lengthy, absorbing rallies and 10 service breaks — together with six in an eight-game run within the third set.
“I do know that immediately is a tricky day,” Wozniacki stated to Halep. “I am sorry I needed to win immediately however I am certain we’ll have many matches sooner or later. Unbelievable match, unbelievable struggle. And once more, I am sorry.”
Halep was taking part in with an injured left ankle, wanted therapy for dizziness within the second set and had rallied from a break down within the third set to steer Four-Three when Wozniacki took a medical outing to have her left knee taped. Ultimately, she simply ran out of steam.
“It isn’t straightforward to speak now,” Halep stated on the presentation. “It has been an amazing event for me. I began not very nicely with the ankle harm. I simply wished to provide my greatest each match, which I did. In fact I am unhappy I could not win immediately however Caroline was higher than me.
“Unhappy that I could not make it the third time, possibly the fourth time might be with luck.”
Wozniacki is the third first-time main winner within the 4 Grand Slam tournaments since Serena Williams received the 2017 Australian Open for her report 23rd Grand Slam title. Serena Williams, who beat her older sister, Venus, in final 12 months’s ultimate, took outing for her being pregnant and the start of her first little one in September, and is making ready to return to competitors subsequent month.
Wozniaki was ranked No. 1 for 67 weeks, together with 49 straight from Feb. 21, 2011 till Victoria Azarenka changed her on Jan. 30, 2012.
Wozniacki bought a break in Halep’s first service recreation and had an opportunity to serve for the primary set at 5-Three, however the Romanian rallied to interrupt again and to pressure a tiebreaker. After getting an early soar within the tiebreaker, Wozniacki received the final three factors to win a set for the primary time in a Grand Slam ultimate.
Halep fended off 4 break factors to carry early within the second set, and referred to as for the coach after holding within the fifth to get her blood stress and pulse taken.
She returned and broke for a 5-Three lead earlier than leveling the match.
The gamers had a 10-minute break between the second and third units with the temperature at 30.5 Celsius (87 Fahrenheit) and 60 % humidity.
Wozniacki appeared to sense Halep’s fatigue and attacked arduous, getting a break within the second recreation.
Halep transformed her sixth breakpoint likelihood when Wozniacki double-faulted for the primary time within the set. It was 2-1.
There was a complete of 4 straight service breaks till Halep held and bought on stage phrases. She broke Wozniacki for a Four-Three lead, however misplaced momentum after Wozniacki’s medical outing.
“I can nonetheless smile. It is high quality. I cried, however now I am smiling,” Halep stated. “Is only a tennis match in the long run. However, yeah, I am actually unhappy I could not win it. I used to be shut once more, however the fuel was over in the long run.”
Serena Williams did not watch the sport, saying she will get too nervous, however tweeted to congratulate her good pal Wozniacki.
“New primary and aussie open champ. So superior. So completely happy. Are these tears? Yup they’re. From a 12 months in the past to immediately I am so proud my pal so proud.”