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Caroline Wozniacki And Simona Halep Will Play In The Finals of the 2018 Australian Open Tennis

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in action against Elise Mertens of Belgium during the women’s semifinal match on day eleven at the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 25 January 2018. EPA-EFE/TRACEY NEARMY



By Ricky Dimon


It will be No. 1 vs. No. 2 at the Australian Open on Saturday night. But it’s even more than that. Way more, in fact.


Either Simona Halep or Caroline Wozniacki will win her first Grand Slam title when they collide in the final this weekend. Additionally, the winner will end the tournament with the No. 1 ranking–either Halep will maintain it or Wozniacki will snatch it from her clutches.


The one-versus-two blockbuster battle became a reality after Wozniacki and Halep picked up respective semifinal wins on Thursday afternoon. Unsurprisingly, Wozniacki vs. Elise Mertens turned out to be the appetizer to the main course that was Halep vs. Angelique Kerber.


That’s not to say, however, that Wozniacki vs. Mertens was a snooze-fest. Far from it, in fact. Mertens, the obvious underdog playing in her first major semifinal, got run off the court early but she managed to to turn things around and make this tilt a competitive one. The Belgian broke serve to stay alive late in the second set and eventually forced a tiebreaker, which Wozniacki ended up dominating seven points to two. That propelled the Dane across the finish line for a 6-3, 7-6(2) victory.


“I think I was nervous,” Wozniacki said of getting broken for the first time all day while serving for victory at 5-4 in set two. “I didn’t do much wrong for the first three points of that game. I served two good serves, then I had that forehand down the line which I missed by a couple of millimeters. It was 30-15 instead of 40-love. All of a sudden, yeah, it just turned around.


“But I managed to just gather myself and thankfully closed it out in the end.”


“Caroline was really good today, Mertens commented. “I mean, she hit her serves, her groundstrokes were pretty aggressive. So, yeah, it’s a mixed feeling. Of course you lost the match, but of course also I’m very happy that I’m in the semifinal–that I reach a semifinal for the first time.”


When asked what she learned about herself this fortnight, Mertens answered, “I think that anything is possible. The belief in yourself. Also (in my) second match, I was 5-love down…. think that anything is possible in tennis.”


Wozniacki wouldn’t disagree. In a second-round tussle of her own, she trailed unheralded Jana Fett 5-1, 40-15 in the third set–with Fett serving at double-match point. Needless to say, the favorite managed to escape that deficit and she took the last six games of the match.


“I’m really happy and proud of how I’ve managed to turn things around when things weren’t going my way and keep it up whenever it was going my way,” Wozniacki reflected. “I’m just excited. It’s another finals. It’s another great two weeks. Regardless of what happens now, I’ve done my best. When you go out there on Saturday, you have everything to win.”


And everything to lose, of course, as well.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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