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Caroline Wozniacki beats Simona Halep to win Australian Open and first major

Posted at 7:29 AM, Jan 27, 2018

The wait is over for Caroline Wozniacki.

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.

Wozniacki will now replace Halep as the world No. 1 when the new rankings are released Monday, the first time she will have held top spot since 2012. And she is the first Dane to capture a grand slam singles title.

The 27-year-old was so nearly out of the tournament in the second round, trailing 5-1 in a third set to Jana Fett and having to save a pair of match points.

Wozniacki trailed by a break deep in the third set, too, against Halep before claiming the final three games.

When Halep sent a backhand into the net on a first match point, Wozniacki flung her racket into the air and sunk to the court. There were tears of joy as she approached the net.

The players then exchanged a hug at the net, an indication of the fierce battle at Rod Laver Arena.


Emotional moment


"My voice is shaking," said Wozniacki as she hoisted the winners' trophy. "I never cry but this is an emotional moment.

"I was a nervous wreck this morning because I wanted to win so bad.

"I dreamed of this moment for so many years and to be here today is a dream come true."

Extended rallies were the order of the day, with a pair of games lasting more than 10 minutes. Both players took a medical timeout and the heat rule came into effect for the first time in the tournament, bringing a 10-minute break between the second and third sets.

Halep -- like Wozniacki playing in a third grand slam final -- had saved match points in two different encounters in Melbourne but ultimately there was no coming back Saturday. She is yet to open her grand slam account.

"I'm sad I couldn't make it the third time but maybe the fourth time will be with luck," said Halep.

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Roger Federer tries for a 20th major in the men's final Sunday against sixth-ranked Marin Cilic in a rematch of the Wimbledon final won by the former.

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