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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Australian Open: Caroline Wozniacki's victory brings excitement to women's tennis

In his talking points on the season's first grand slam tournament, Graham Caygill wonders where it goes from here for the Dane, her fellow finalist Simona Halep and that 20-major title winner called Roger Federer

Caroline Wozniacki won her first grand slam title on her 43rd attempt. Chris Hyde / Getty Images
Caroline Wozniacki won her first grand slam title on her 43rd attempt. Chris Hyde / Getty Images

Ever since she burst on to the scene in 2009 by reaching the US Open final, the question had always been whether Caroline Wozniacki would win a grand slam title.

The Danish player's talent and consistency had always been there to see. She established herself as one of the most consistent players on the WTA Tour and spent 67 weeks at No 1 between October 2010 and January 2012.

But the major had never come. That finally changed on Saturday when she won a thrilling final against Simona Halep.

At the age of 27 Wozniacki has ended the doubts on whether she would go her career without winning one of the sport's big ones.

The new question is whether she can kick on now and win more, or if she will be one and done?

Wozniacki deserved her Melbourne success. She has moulded her game to be more aggressive since the start of 2016 and it has paid off. She has already had a good defence but can now be forceful on points and it has shown in her results which has culminated in her big moment here.

This is an exciting time for women's tennis. Serena Williams was not where she wanted to be to compete at the Australian Open after the birth of her first child, and what level she will be at when does finally play again will be fascinating.

Wozniacki is part of a group of players including Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina and Angelique Kerber who are all capable of challenging consistently for titles.

The victory also returns Wozniacki to No 1 for the first time in six years. Now that she is back at the top of the rankings it will be fascinating to see if this is the start of more majors, or if she will mentally relax now the biggest thing she has had to fight for in her career has been achieved.

Staying on the women's game, she may not have left Melbourne as a winner but Halep did a lot to convince that she will win a grand slam title before long.

Simona Halep fought her way into the Australian Open final, which she came close to winning. Scott Barbour / Getty Images
Simona Halep fought her way into the Australian Open final, which she came close to winning. Scott Barbour / Getty Images

The Romanian's loss in Saturday's final was her third in a major final, the other two both being at the French Open in 2014 and last year.

But she comes away this time with a lot of credit. She battled tiredness and actually having to be taken to hospital and put on a drip post-match due to severe hydration as she put everything she could physically into trying to beat Wozniacki.

She showed great tenacity throughout the tournament, from beating Lauren Davis 15-13 in the final set in the third set, to saving match points on her way to beating Angelique Kerber in the semi-final.

Wozniacki won the final rather than her losing it and while Halep will be bitterly disappointed, she can take a lot from this going forward.

If she keeps this level up a grand slam title will come her way, possibly as soon as at Roland Garros in June.

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Read more

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Roger Federer on winning grand slam title No 20: 'It's almost good fun'

Caroline Wozniacki: 'This can't be real' after winning first major title

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The last time Roger Federer had cried on the Rod Laver Arena it was after losing to Rafael Nadal in the 2009 final.

Fast forward nine years and the tears were back, but for very different reasons as he celebrated the accomplishment of his 20th major after beating Marin Cilic.

It was a terrific two weeks from the 36-year-old world No 2 and on the form he showed in Melbourne, the question is just how many more major titles he can win as his body is showing no signs of slowing down.

He will be a strong favourite for Wimbledon and will also be a serious contender for the US Open. He is yet to decide if he is going to pass on the clay season, like he did in 2017, and even if he does play, given the form of Nadal on the surface the French Open will also be an unlikely source of success.

But certainly No 21 and possibly No 22 could come up for Federer by the end of September.