MAMMA MIA – Caroline Wozniacki has lastly received a Grand Slam title.
The feminine lead from the ABBA musical sang “The Winner Takes It All” earlier than the match.
And it was Wozniacki, after two hours and 50 minutes of drama, who triumphed 7-6 Three-6 6-Four within the battle of the Slamless wonders.
Within the course of, she regained the world No 1 spot from her opponent, however this was extra about shedding one thing else – the stigma of reaching the highest of the rankings with out profitable one of many sport’s 4 largest prizes.
How a lot did they need to get that monkey off their again? The tennis gods have been decided to push them to their limits.
It was a brutal and sensible wrestle befitting a match with a lot at stake.
The pair needed to combat not solely one another but in addition stifling situations which meant the Excessive Warmth Coverage got here into play for the second time in a scorching and humid Melbourne day.
Halep had already performed two marathon matches in her run to the ultimate and acquired remedy halfway via the second set earlier than recovering sufficiently to degree the match.
Then Wozniacki took a medical timeout after the Romanian had moved Four-Three forward with a break within the see-sawing decider.
SORRY, NOT SORRY
It was third time fortunate for Wozniacki, the primary Dane to win a Grand Slam title, after twice shedding within the US Open closing.
Wozniacki stated: “I’ve dreamt of this second for thus a few years.”My voice is shaking, I do not usually cry however it’s a really emotional second.
“Simona, I do know it is a robust day.”I am sorry however I needed to win as we speak.”It was an unbelievable match, an unbelievable combat and once more, I am sorry.”
Halep, who additionally went into the match with two earlier closing defeats, each on the French Open, stated: “It isn’t simple to talk now.
“I need to congratulate Caroline. She performed superb.
“It has been an excellent match for me. I began not very nicely with an ankle harm.
“I simply needed to provide my finest for each match, which I did.”I am actually joyful I may play the ultimate.
“After all I am unhappy I could not win however Caroline was higher than me.”Hopefully I’ll face one other problem like as we speak.
“”I am unhappy I could not win it for the third time. Perhaps the fourth time will probably be with luck.”
The most recent in a collection of sensible rallies introduced up match level for the Dane. Halep had saved 5 others within the occasion, however a sixth was past her and Wozniacki collapsed to the courtroom in pleasure and exhaustion.
9 years after her first closing look on the 2009 US Open, ultimately tennis’ longest-running bridesmaid was the blushing bride.
If Wozniacki was nervous, she didn’t present it within the first set. The good Dane banged down three first serves off the bat and took early management of the match.
Halep, 26, didn’t appear to have the jitters.
However nor did she have a solution to an opponent who was serving more durable and hitting floor strokes deeper and with extra energy, driving her again and stopping her from dictating factors.
After 10 minutes, the pocket rocket Romanian was Zero-Three down and actually up in opposition to it.
In November she had misplaced 6-Zero 6-2 to Wozniacki in a spherical robin match on the WTA Tour Finals, an occasion the Dane went on to win. An analogous drubbing appeared attainable.
However truthful play to Halep, she compelled her manner again into the opening set, placing extra warmth on her personal serve and photographs, and coming to the web behind them to good impact.
And when Wozniacki got here to serve for it at 5-Three, it appeared she was feeling the stress when she fell Zero/40 down. She saved two break factors, however not the third, and it was again on serve.
The sadist in you needed a tiebreak, simply to see how they might every deal with the strain.
The reply was: nicely, however Wozniacki a lot the higher. There have been some good rallies, however the Dane had an excessive amount of energy for Halep and took it convincingly 7-2.
After a low-key begin to the second set, the third sport was a mini-classic.
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4 instances Wozniacki held break level, 4 instances Halep saved it with courageous tennis, making an attempt to win the rally fairly than ready for her opponent to lose it.
The trouble appeared to be taking its toll on the Romanian within the scorching and humid situations. After she had held serve for a Three-2 lead, she was attended by a physio and different employees and appeared to have her blood stress measured.
However the world No 1 took a deep breath and continued making an attempt to hunt Wozniacki down.
She broke serve within the eighth sport to earn the best to serve for the set and on wobbly-looking legs, saved three break factors, did not convert two set factors and at last levelled the match after one other lung-busting rally.
Halep barely had the power to show to her field to rejoice the set and each gamers left the courtroom.
For the second time within the day and the second time on the match, situations have been such to convey the Excessive Warmth Coverage into play and that meant the pair may take a 10-minute break within the cool of the locker room.
Again they got here for the one-set shootout because the seagulls continued to assemble on the roof of the Rod Laver Enviornment, in expectation maybe of some Alfred Hitchcock-style drama.
They usually received it.
Serving first in a decider is generally a bonus and it quickly appeared it will be so for Wozniacki. Wozniacki held from Zero/30 down within the opening sport after which broke Halep within the subsequent.
However the Dane, having saved 5 break again factors within the third, double faulted on the sixth to let her opponent convey it again on serve.
Not for lengthy. Some tired-looking photographs by Halep handed Wozniacki a break to like, just for the Romanian to hit again instantly.
Halep broke the run of 4 breaks to degree the set at Three-Three after which took the Wozniacki serve once more for a Four-Three lead.
The physio returned to courtroom, this time to take care of Wozniacki, ratcheting the strain up one other notch. The Dane’s break again to Four-Four lifted it one other.
You all the time thought this match is perhaps received by a break, so laborious would it not be to carry the nerve to serve it out.
One more fabulous rally introduced up match level for Wozniacki and a forehand into the web from Halep made her desires come true.