Australian Open 2018: Caroline Wozniacki beats Elise Mertens to reach final
|2018 Australian Open|
|Dates: 15-28 January Venue: Melbourne Park|
|Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app. Live commentary on the best matches on BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra and online.|
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki overcame a late bout of nerves to beat unseeded Belgian Elise Mertens and reach her first Australian Open final.
The 27-year-old, seeded second, saw off the world number 37, 6-3 7-6 (7-2) in Melbourne.
Wozniacki is through to her third major final, and will face top seed Simona Halep who beat Angelique Kerber in 6-3 4-6 9-7 in a thrilling match.
The winner of the final will be world number one next week.
"I think it's been a great two weeks so far," said Wozniacki.
"I'm really happy and proud of how I've managed to turn things around when things weren't going my way and keep it up whenever it was going my way. I'm just excited. It's another final."
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Wozniacki was two points from capping what would have been a hugely impressive serving performance, and a relatively straightforward victory, after 70 minutes.
Breaks of serve in the fourth game of the first set and the fifth game of the second had put the Dane firmly in control, and Mertens had failed to make any impression.
Twice a Grand Slam runner-up, and having lost her only previous Melbourne semi-final after holding match point against Li Na seven years ago, it was no great surprise that closing out the match might still be a test for Wozniacki.
"Calm down!" she told her team in the player box at one changeover as the finish line approached.
The Dane had lost just 11 points on serve across two sets when she first tried to seal it at 6-3 5-4.
However, from 30-0 the tension took hold, the serve lost its power and a double fault allowed Mertens to level.
Suddenly the 22-year-old Belgian was able to tee off on some weak second serves, and it was credit to Wozniacki that she clung on in the face of two set points to force a tie-break.
The dominant Wozniacki returned and she capitalised on an early break, firing a backhand into the corner to set up match point and raising her arms in relief when Mertens found the net.
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