Simona Halep v Caroline Wozniacki Australian Open 2018 Final

Title and World Number One spot up for grabs in Melbourne

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) © GEPA pictures

There was an epic duel between Simona Halep and 216 Australian Open Angelique Kerber as their semi final match played out to an intense finish. Halep got the first set on the board against the German in Melbourne, and she was a break up in the second but then let things go as Kerber fought her way back into the match to level things up.

Halep then had a chance to seal out the match with two match points in hand at 5-4 in the deciding set, but again Kerber hung in there and then she herself had a couple of match points just two games later. It was Halep’s turn to show some resilience as she stuck in there and the match was decided when the Romanian powered a forehand away for a 6-3 4-6 9-7 victory.

Halep, the world number one has missed opportunities before in her career to get a Grand Slam title, her mental focus letting her down time and time again. But she seems pretty dialled in and ready to fight all the way because she has overcome some battles at the Australian Open, including facing an injury scare in her opening match and facing match points in her third round tie against Lauren Davies.

So as she continues her search she goes up against Caroline Wozniacki who will also be looking for her first Grand Slam. Whoever wins the match will also get the world number one ranking as well.

Wozniacki was far more comfortable in her semi-final duel as she took out unseeded Belgian Elise Mertens in straight sets. Wozniacki, who is the second seed at the Australian Open landed the first set 6-3 and despite a late rally from Mertens in the second set, largely out of tension from Wozniacki as she tried to seal the match at 5-4 in the second.

For the first time Wozniacki’s impressive serve deserted her and as she phoned in some pretty weak second serves, she found herself facing two set points which she saw off to force a tie-break. The Dane came out strongly, taking an advantage of an early break to reach what is her third Grand Slam final, the first one at the Australian Open.

Simona Halep v Caroline Wozniacki head to head

Wozniacki is 4-2 up in the head to head against Halep. The Dane has won each of the last three meetings, the most recent of which was at the 2017 WTA Finals, dropping just the two games in a crushing victory. Three of the last four meetings between them have been over three sets and from the fourth previous meetings on hard court surfaces, things are even at two wins each.

Simona Halep v Caroline Wozniacki Outright Winner Odds

Simona Halep 4/6, Caroline Wozniacki 5/4

Simona Halep v Caroline Wozniacki Prediction

Simona Halep has been a bit of a roller coaster at times throughout the tournament but the amount of grit that she has produced when it has been needed most, shows clearly that her desire and her head is totally in the right place. If she gets this Grand Slam title it will have been a long time coming for her. She has been really impressive in spells, but then Wozniacki has shown a lot more stability.

Wozniacki has had her serve going so well throughout the tournament and hasn’t given up very much in defence. She has looked supremely confident and really only when she was trying to close out against Mertens have we sent her a little shaky in Melbourne. This is a match which will likely go to the distance and over 2.5 sets is 11/8 odds at bet365* (betting odds taken January 25th, 2018 at 3:37 p.m.) is a decent option.

As for a winner, it’s a really close call. Halep, with her grit, will have another chance at a Slam title, and if she does it, she will be the first woman to have fought off match points in two different matches during a title-winning campaign. There were crucial long rally wins for Halep against Kerber which just tipped the balance in that semi final duel and she has been digging really deep. She has the fight in her and she looks a far happier camper than we have seen in other title challenges. Back the favourite.

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