2nd seed Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) overcame the world number 1 Simona Halep (ROU) to take her first Grand Slam title and regain the world number 1 ranking. Wozniacki had received criticism while number 1 between 2010 and 2011 for achieving the position by playing smaller tournaments against lower ranked players. She has been one of the greatest supporters of the WTA tour, playing week in, week out, unlike some of the higher ranked players. The criticism followed Wozniacki throughout her career, adding immeasurable pressure to each Grand Slam, making this an even greater achievement. You don’t get to silence your critics better than beating a world number 1 in a Grand Slam Final.
Wozniacki has been playing a new brand of attacking tennis of late, and it was working well for her in the first set. Halep feeling the heat and those marathon matches against Lauren Davis and Angelique Kerber, lost the first set in the tie-break. In the second set the doctor was called as Halep’s fatigue became worrisome, and a time-out was in effect, after being given the all clear the match resumed. Wether she was distracted by the wilting of her opponent, or the finish line came into view and she froze, Wozniacki stepped off the gas and reverted to her defensive style. The opposite happened to Halep, her body failing, she let go and started hitting more aggressively to shorten the points. The match turned and Halep took the second set 6-3.
There followed an extraordinary third set, with both players reluctant to serve as the nerves kicked in, and the breaks flowed. At 3-3 it was Wozniacki who signalled she would be needing medical assistance after her service game, and as Halep broke to take the lead 4-3, it looked like it wasn’t to be for Wozniacki. After a time-out to tape Wozniacki’s knee, Halep came out to serve to consolidate her break and put herself 1 game away from her first Grand Slam title. Wozniacki had other ideas and went back to her new aggressive style to break the Romanian and make it 4-4. The Dane held her nerve and a shaky service game, with Halep failing to capitalise on some tense second serving, to lead 5-4. In a thrilling game, the crowd were treated to a spectacular point at 30-30, both players desperately clinging on, Wozniacki finally prevailing to bring up match point. She only needed one, and what a point. She clung in the point, and as a tired Halep netted her backhand, Wozniacki’s racquet was in the air and the new world number 1 was on the ground sobbing.