Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki to clash in Aussie final

Simona Halep celebrates her semi-final win over Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Simona Halep celebrates her semi-final win over Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
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Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki will try to put history to one side when they clash in the Australian Open final tomorrow with a first grand slam title and the world No 1 ranking on the line.

After Wozniacki withstood a major wobble with the finish line in sight to beat Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), Halep defeated title favourite Angelique Kerber 6-3, 4-6, 9-7, with the third set a battle of lung-busting brilliance.

The final will be a clash between the top two seeds, who share more than simply proximity in the rankings. Both have been ranked No 1 without winning a slam, both lost their first two finals at this level and, in the second half of their careers, both know they may never get a better chance.

They might be desperate to get their hands on the silverware, yet both Halep and Wozniacki insisted they have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Halep goes in as the holder of the No 1 ranking but has made no secret that a slam title is her big goal. “It’s bigger than No 1,” she said. “It’s my dream, to win a grand slam title. But it’s always tough when you are close. I had this opportunity two times. The last one was very close.”

Halep has reached two grand slam finals before, both at the French Open, in 2014 and 2017. Wozniacki has also lost two slam finals, in the US Open in 2009 and 2014.

“You live and you learn, and you try again,” the Dane said of her defeats. “They knock you down, you come back up. Hopefully I can change that on Saturday.

“I think it’s been a great two weeks so far. I’m really happy and proud of how I’ve managed to turn things around.”