Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki reached the 2018 Australian Open final, both by saving match points on the way, and will both battle for their first Grand Slam title, a long awaited one, especially for Wozniacki who was the world No.1 player way back in 2010.
After fighting off three match points in a third-round match against Lauren Davis, which went to 15-13 in the deciding set, the top-ranked Halep saved two more to defeat the 2016 champion Angelique Kerber and end the German’s 14-match winning streak in Thursday’s semifinals. Initially, it looked like Halep would make surprisingly quick work of Kerber, as the Romanian’s consistent winners earned her a 5-0 lead in just 13 minutes and then she served for 4-1 in the second set, but in the end it was anything but a breeze. The seed No.21 Kerber took advantage of Halep’s lost opportunities in the second set to take the match to the decider in which she recovered from 5-3 down by saving two match points and then earned two of her own. Halep responded by stepping up the intensity of her returns, leveled to 6-6 and eventually edged a 6-3 4-6 9-7 victory.
Earlier in the day, the second-seeded Wozniacki, who saved two match points in the second round against Jana Fett, lost just 11 points on serve by the time she was just one game from sealing the semifinal against unseeded Elise Mertens, but the 22-year-old Belgian capitalized on some Wozniacki’s weak second serves and was close to forcing the third set. Wozniacki withstood that late test, though, and progressed into her first Australian Open final 6-3 7-6(2).
Both Halep and Wozniacki will be competing in their third career Grand Slam final and the champion will leave Melbourne with the No.1 ranking.