Sunday, 28 January 2018

Caro beats Simona to win 1st major

Those viewing the Women’s Singles final at the 2018 Australian Open were fortunate to be witness to one of the highest quality matches of recent times, and the loser could easily have been the winner had the ball spun or bounced slightly the other way in one or two instances.

Caroline Wozniacki (2) opened the drama and was on song, holding serve forcing Simona Halep (1) into three errors.

Winners from both wings brought up two break points and Wozniacki broke Halep with the second, forcing a backhand mistake. 2-0.

A Wozniacki double fault was offset nicely by a pair of winning forehands as she extended her lead to 3-0.

Halep impressed with a love game to put her on the board.

Wozniacki replied with purpose, dropping a single point and leading 4-1.

Halep was playing top drawer tennis now and another love game was delivered, all points won with forehand winners.

Then Halep’s forehand coughed up three errors, enabling Wozniacki to move to within a game of the set 5-2.

A couple of winners assisted Halep to 3-5, and Wozniacki had the chance to serve for the set.

Three unforced errors and Halep had three break points. Two saved, but not the third, and games back on serve.

Halep held serve to love, with two aces, levelling at 5-5.

Wozniacki steadied with a love game of her own, before Halep sent things to a tie break with her service hold.

Wozniacki forced Halep into error twice against the Romanian serve to lead 5-2 with serves to come.

A Danish winning forehand presented 4 set points to Wozniacki and she needed just one to take a big advantage 7-6(2).

Both players held their initial serves in set two but Halep struggled in game three, saving four break points, and wasting two game points in an 18 point game. A third game point was used to hold serve. 2-1.

A Wozniacki double fault didn’t prevent her from levelling 2-2.

Halep held serve with much less stress this time, to love in fact, forcing Wozniacki to error four times.

Wozniacki held serve despite another double fault included. 3-3.

An ace and 2 winning forehands sent Halep to 4-3, and then the top seed broke Wozniacki, a forehand winner converting the second of two break points. 5-3.

From 40-15, Wozniacki saw her game lead diminish to deuce as Halep hit winners from both sides.

The second seed saved two set points and wasted a game point.

Finally a backhand forced error from the Danish racquet gave the game and set to Halep 6-3. The final was alive and going to a decider.

Wozniacki survived deuce to hold serve and lead 1-0 in the decider.

After having two game points, Halep lost the last three and dropped serve to trail 0-2.

Wozniacki had two game points for a 3-0 lead but didn’t use them, and despite saving five break points, she couldn’t save the sixth, Halep breaking for 1-2.

Wozniacki bounced back with a love game to break Halep and lead 3-1.

Forehand problems for Wozniacki and the fourth successive service break occurred. 2-3 Halep.

A backhand winner and an ace helped Halep to 3-3 and the top seed broke Wozniacki after the second seed led 40-30, but lost three straight points through errors.

A forehand winner from Wozniacki set up a second break point after Halep had saved the first with her winning forehand.

The break came and scores were level 4-4.

With two game points at her disposal, a Wozniacki double fault was ill timed. Fortunately for her, Halep hit a loose shot and trailed 4-5, now having to hold serve to remain in the contest.

Halep showed fight, hitting a clean winner and forcing Wozniacki into error, to have the lead 30-15.

A double fault was a killer blow and it was 30-30.

Wozniacki earned a match point when she hit a thrilling forehand winner.

Once Halep netted a backhand the battle was over. 7-6(2) 3-6 6-4.

Caroline Wozniacki had broken through for her first Grand Slam title and had claimed the number one ranking once more.

Simona Halep was valiant in one of the best finals seen in the Australian Open in the open era.

From this tournament, ranking changes included:

Caroline Wozniacki 1 up from 2

Elina Svitolina 3 up from 4

Karolina Pliskova 5 up from 6

Jelena Ostapenko 6 up from 7 (new career high)

Caroline Garcia 7 up from 8 (new career high)

Angie Kerber 9 up from 16

Madison Keys 14 up from 20

Ash Barty 16 up from 17 (new career high)

Magdalena Rybarikova 19 up from 21 (new career high)

Elise Mertens 20 up from 37 (new career high)

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