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Wozniacki wins Australian Open to capture first Grand Slam, regain top ranking

Bill Scott, DPA on

Published in Tennis

MELBOURNE -- Caroline Wozniacki became the first Grand Slam champion from Denmark as she claimed the biggest victory of her career with a 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-4 defeat of Simona Halep on Saturday to win the Australian Open.

The 27-year-old, who was denied trophies in 2009 and 2014 at the U.S. Open, will move back to the No. 1 ranking that she held for a total of 67 weeks during two periods in 2010 and 2011.

Halep, who will lose the top spot on Monday, remains without a Grand Slam title.

Wozniacki now owns 28 career trophies, including the WTA year-end championships crown from last season.

"She was playing really well, but I was not nervous. I felt it could go my way," Wozniacki said. "It was a tough grind and we battled.

"I'm happy I won the title. It's a very special moment.

"When I saw that ball go into the net (on match point) it was wow, crazy emotional."

Both women needed on-court treatment in a match that was paused for 10 minutes at the end of the second set due to the heat rule in effect.

Halep had her blood pressure taken midway through the second set, but returned to the court without any treatment. She also looked to be cramping.

"I had a little cramp -- that went away. But the pain remained a little bit till the end," she said.

Wozniacki took a medical timeout while trailing 3-4 in the third, getting her left knee taped before playing on.

Second seed Wozniacki held her nerve in a tight final set featuring seven breaks of serve.

The dogged retriever and shotmaker got back to level-pegging in the third for 4-all, then held serve before breaking Halep for a final time in the epic, with the Romanian putting a backhand into the net on first match point.

 

"My voice is shaking, it's a very emotional moment," Wozniacki said. "It's been an incredible two weeks. It was a tough day for Simona -- I'm sorry I had to win today. We had an incredible match, an incredible fight. Again, I'm sorry."

Wozniacki finished the match, which lasted for almost three hours, with 49 winners and 28 unforced errors, breaking on five of 14 chances. Halep went 5 for 12 on break points.

"I can still smile," Halep said. "I cried, but now I'm smiling. I'm sad. But it's just a tennis match. She was better."

Halep said she was suffering physically.

"My right foot is swollen, both of my feet are dead," Halep said. "I was hurting and could not train for more than 10-15 minutes per day. I'll get a scan on both feet. Today my legs were not fast enough. She was running well and responding well."

The two-time Roland Garros runner-up added: "I did 100 percent what I could today. That's why I can say that I'm not sad for that.I'm sad that I lost the match, I was not the winner. But life goes on.

"For sure in the future, if I keep working like this and I keep playing like this, I will be in a good position again."

Wozniacki has forever shed the label of No. 1 without a Grand Slam title after her victory.

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