From choker to winner - Wozniacki banishes demons


"World number one and a grand slam champion, it couldn't be any better right now."

Caroline Wozniacki, with barely two hours sleep, woke up as an Australian Open and grand slam champion in Melbourne.

A 27-time WTA title winner and previous world number one, dual US Open finalist Wozniacki had long craved slam silverware.

The thought of becoming Denmark's first major winner by outlasting Simona Halep in an epic final at Melbourne Park Saturday, though, would not have even entered her mind in week one of the tournament, having found herself 5-1 down in the third set of her second-round clash against world number 119 Jana Fett.

With one foot out of the door, it was all about survival for Wozniacki as the 27-year-old looked set for another early-round exit.

Melbourne had never been a happy hunting ground for Wozniacki with only two quarter-finals to her name in 10 previous appearances - one of those resulting in a semi-final berth, which left the Dane with scares after she coughed up a match point in 2009.

But with former NBA champion and partner David Lee in her corner, Wozniacki saved two match points, rallying to prolong her stay in Australia.

"From being almost out of the tournament to sitting here with the Australian Open trophy, it's amazing," she said. "It's been quite a turnaround, something I'm very proud of."

Fast forward to Saturday and she followed in the footsteps of 2016 champion Angelique Kerber and 2014 winner Li Na, who both fended off match points en route to hoisting the trophy aloft on Rod Laver Arena.

After claiming a gruelling opening set only to be pegged back in the second by a determined Halep, Wozniacki's painful wait for a major looked set to continue when she gave up a 2-0 lead in the decider.

Halep turned the topsy-turvy match in her favour, moving 4-3 ahead before Wozniacki won three games on the bounce to banish her demons well and truly.

Put a line through choker. Wozniacki is a winner.