Sport

Australian Open: Halep-Wozniacki battle for No. 1 in the finals

Australian Open: Halep-Wozniacki battle for No. 1 in the finals

Piotr Wozniacki, her father and coach, and husband-to-be David Lee, the former National Basketball Association star could only watch as the No 2 seed faltered when serving for the match and nearly allowed Elise Mertens to force a deciding set in their semi-final.

The Romanian has made no secret that her sole focus now is on winning a slam title, but Kerber clung on by her fingernails in the second set, recovering from 1-3 and then saving break points that would have given Halep a 5-3 lead. Mertens, though, hasn't lost a match in her last ten, and hasn't dropped a set all tourney, including a 6-4, 6-2 domination of Elina Svitolina, the fourth seed here.

"I think all the people is watching Australian Open now because we make history in Korea", he said. I have just to enjoy.

Wozniacki was steadier than her 22-year-old opponent for much of the match, though she had her own wobbles toward the end.

The 27-year-old Dane will be contesting her third major final after losing the 2009 and 2014 US Open deciders to Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams respectively. The only thing that's been holding Halep back in the past was the mental game, as she'd get so down on herself after a poorly played game and allow it to leak into the rest of the match.

Halep and Wozniacki will both be chasing an elusive first grand slam triumph on Saturday night - as well as duelling for the world's top ranking. Wozniacki has won the last three meetings against Halep, and her last loss came in the 2015 Dubai Tennis Championships.

Svitolina had needed a run to the final to have a chance of displacing Simona Halep at the top of the world rankings.

Caroline Wozniacki is one win away from her first major title.

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Although the second set against Mertens proved more tricky, Wozniacki apologised to her dad for putting him through the mill. "I've been in this situation before", Wozniacki said.

"Serving for the match against Na in 2011 was definitely on my mind today, but I tried to stay calm and I was lucky to get the win", she added.

The second-seeded Wozniacki, who could return to the No. 1 ranking with a win here, plays Carla Suarez Navarro.

Serving the match, Mertens clinched it on her first opportunity with a backhand victor, then threw her arms up in the air in celebration. I was like okay "This is not normal, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do now", I just took a few deep breaths and once she had set point, I said, "Well, I guess it is the third set".

Read on for a breakdown of all the vital viewing information heading into Thursday's semi-final slate, complete with a preview of the women's singles' penultimate stage.

Svitolina blamed a hip injury for her shock ousting as she again failed to get to the last-four of a Grand Slam on her 22nd attempt.

No. 1-ranked Simona Halep takes on two-time major victor Angelique Kerber in the second semifinal.





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