Caroline Wozniacki with her victory over Romanian Simona Halep among other things has three important achievements under her name: She is world’s no. 1, she has won her first Grand Slam, and is the first player from Denmark to win a Grand Slam singles title.
In a captivating tussle played out in stifling humidity, the Dane hung tough in a nerve-shredding final set to win 7-6(2) 3-6 6-4 under the lights at a heaving Rod Laver Arena.
She swiped Halep’s world number one ranking in the process, six years after losing it at the 2012 tournament at Melbourne Park, the restoration having taken a record amount of time.
“I have to take a second to hug Daphne… it’s a dream come true, and my voice is shaking, it’s a very emotional moment,” a teary-eyed Wozniacki said, cradling the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup at the presentation ceremony.
“I want to congratulate Simona. I know today is a tough day and I‘m sorry I had to win.”
After closing it out when Halep netted a backhand, the overwhelmed Dane threw her racket away and collapsed onto the blue hardcourt as the packed terraces roared.
Following runner-up finishes at the 2009 and 2014 U.S. Opens, it was third time lucky for the 27-year-old who saved match points in her second round match against Jana Fett.
Making the breakthrough in her 43rd grand slam appearance — only three players have needed more — Wozniacki will no longer be known as one of the game’s best without a major success.