The first semifinal in Rod Laver Arena saw Caroline Wozniacki and Elise Mertens battle it out for a spot in the final of the first major of the year. Wozniacki had been in two Slam finals before as well as an Australian Open semifinal while this is Mertens' first taste of a deep Slam run.
The Belgian was the aggressor in her runaway victory against Elina Svitolina and was hoping she could do the same against the Dane. The former world number one made it tough out there for Mertens, add in a pinch of nerves for the Belgian, as Wozniacki moved into her first career Australian Open final with a 6-3, 7-6(2) win.
Wozniacki will now face Simona Halep, who knocked out the inform Angelique Kerber in a three-set thriller. Not only will both women face off for a Grand Slam title, their first-ever, but will also face off to see who will end the tournament as world number one.
Wozniacki Takes Advantage Of Mertens' Wobbles
Though she showed no nerves in blasting Elina Svitolina in her quarterfinal, the early stages of the semifinals saw some tight moments from Mertens. In her second service game, a couple of loose points from the Hobart champion gave the early break to Wozniacki who was very collected in these early stages.
Mertens was no pushover after going a break down, looking to break right back, but a Wozniacki backhand saves the break point, and an ace gave her a three-game lead. No signs of a letdown from any player were shown, though the Belgian did have to save a set point in the eighth game.
Wozniacki took the opening set 6-3 as the experience of the Dane began to show.
Early tension in the second set showed for Mertens, saving a couple of break points to start. Both women held with ease after that until once again, it was the Belgian who ran into trouble. Up 30-0, four straight unforced errors from Mertens gave Wozniacki the break she needed.
The Dane was serving beautifully throughout the match, finding her spots and not losing many second serve points as well. More comfortable holds from Wozniacki put her a game away from taking the match.
Serving for the match, it looked like the former world number one was well in control going up 30-0. She pushed a forehand down the line just wide which would have given her triple match point. The slight miss clearly rattled the Dane, losing four straight points to put Mertens back in the set.
Wozniacki clearly had to do something different. Double faults and Mertens attacking her second serve were putting her behind the eight ball. She battled through to find her way to a tiebreak, saving break points in the process.
The Dane found herself quickly ahead in the tiebreak up 3-0, but Mertens would not back down without a fight, winning the next two points to put it back on serve at 2-3. The Belgian wobbled while Wozniacki stood tall, going up 5-2 after a forehand winner. A backhand winner sealed the deal for Wozniacki.