Australian Open 2018: Wozniacki outlasts Halep in classic

What a thrilling final that was, a match of high drama and several momentum shifts at crucial junctures. In hot and humid conditions both players had to call for medical timeouts as a gruelling fortnight of graft took its toll. In the end, it was another great advert for the women’s game offering a forever-shifting storyline that isn’t always guaranteed with the men.

Halep was clearly nervous at first as Wozniacki looked composed and settled in straightaway. A 3-0 lead soon became 5-2 but then from nowhere Caroline’s forehand deserted her, perhaps she was all too aware of her opponents rapidly evaporating nerves. Whatever the reason, a break and confident hold from the Romanian suddenly saw us at 5-5. But then in a match already of a quality worthy of the final, momentum shifted again to the Dane who ramped up the aggression in the tiebreak to take her first major set.

What that first set lacked in out and out drama, it made up for in quality. Both would be present in what followed as the two traded blows time and time again, Halep’s 11+ hours on court began to tell as she seemingly hit a wall. Suddenly the Romanian could barely run but instead of capitalising as is so often the case, Caroline was distracted and reverted back into the comfort of her defensive nous.

It wasn’t enough against an increasingly desperate and therefore aggressive Halep who stormed to the 2nd set 6-3.

The final set, which I had to watch on a train, was an epic tale of endless breaks and high stakes hitting. Wozniacki finally holding her nerve and her serve when it counted and leaving Simona with that unenviable label of 3 major final appearances and no title…..yet.

If both can maintain this quality at the top then the already rude health of the women’s game will be even stronger and could play host to a thrilling rivalry in 2018.

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