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Caroline Wozniacki wins thriller to clinch first grand slam title

Caroline Wozniacki held firm to shake off a tenacious challenge from Simona Halep, edging a classic Australian Open final 7-6(2) 3-6 6-4 to claim her first grand slam title on Saturday.

After a captivating tussle played out in stifling humidity at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena, the Dane hung tough in a see-saw final set to claim the thriller when Halep wavered on serve.

The result ensured Wozniacki swiped Halep's world number one ranking, six years after losing it at the 2012 Australian Open.

The temperature was 32 degrees Celsius when the players took the court and they were quickly racked with sweat after a handful of rallies.

Wozniacki's edge in power told early as she roared to a 3-0 lead in the opening set before Halep could find her range.

She closed it out with a blazing shot that all but knocked the racket out of Halep's hand.

The Romanian was on the back foot and suddenly dizzy, and she called a medical timeout to have her blood pressure taken after holding serve to 3-2 in the second set.

She then began grabbing at her left thigh after points, but somehow found the energy to break Wozniacki with a swashbuckling forehand down the line.

Nothing would come easy for Halep, who saved further break points in a nervous service game before claiming the set with a risky dropshot that Wozniacki failed to deal with.

Romanians in the terraces went ballistic at the breakthrough, but were silenced as Wozniacki took full advantage of her opponent's weakening second serve to break her to 2-0 with a fiery return.

The grind of a long fortnight suddenly came to the fore as both players threw away their serve, but Halep nudged in front when Wozniacki's forehand deserted her.

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