Caroline Wozniacki survives scare to reach maiden Melbourne final
Caroline Wozniacki v Elise Mertens 6-3 7-6(2)

Caroline Wozniacki survives scare to reach maiden Melbourne final

Caroline Wozniacki came through a late bout of nerves to reach the Australian Open final for a first time with a 6-3 7-6(2) victory over Belgian Elise Mertens on Thursday, giving herself another shot at winning a maiden grand slam title.

The Dane had dominated her second Melbourne Park semi-final until she was 5-4, 30-0 up and serving for the match but suddenly faltered with a pair of double faults to allow her 22-year-old opponent back into the contest.

Mertens, playing only her fifth grand slam, took full advantage and, unleashing a string of winners, broke the former world number one and racked up two set points.

Unlike in her 2011 semi-final against Li Na, when she blew a match point, Wozniacki was able to recover her composure and saved them both on the back of a couple of booming serves.

After four deuces, the 27-year-old held with a thumping forehand then raced away with the ensuing tiebreak to seal a title-decider against either Simona Halep or Angelique Kerber.

"I got really tired at 5-4," she said on court. "After the two first good serves, I thought, 'Calm down, it's all good', then it kind of wasn't good any more.

"I felt like my legs were shaking a little bit. I was like okay 'This is not normal, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do now', I just took a few deep breaths and once she had set point, I said, 'Well, I guess it is the third set. I guess now you just need to go for it'.

"(The 2011 match) was definitely on my mind out there today -- Li Na. I tried to stay calm and I was lucky to get a win.

Wozniacki has yet to win a grand slam title despite spending 67 weeks as world number one and is the only player to have won more than 25 WTA titles without claiming a major title.

She lost six successive tour finals in 2017 but showed a more aggressive edge to her game when she saved two match points to battle back from 5-1 down in the third set to win her second round match against Jana Fett last week.

Victory over Halep or Kerber on Saturday would take her back to the top of the world rankings but, having lost both her previous grand slam finals at the U.S Open, clearly finally landing a major title would mean far more.

"That is a nice thing about being first on," she said.

"You win, you can relax and you can see the other ones play it out and obviously they are both amazing players, incredible fighters and athletes. It is going to be really difficult, but I'm in the finals and at that point it's the last match."

Related news

Novak Djokovic into Australian Open semis after Kei Nishikori retires with injury

Novak Djokovic into Australian Open semis after Kei Nishikori retires with injury

Novak Djokovic made it into the semi-finals of the Australian Open after Kei Nishikori was forced to withdraw injured at 6-1 4-1 down.

Lucas Pouille ends Milos Raonic's run to reach first Grand Slam semi in Melbourne

Lucas Pouille ends Milos Raonic's run to reach first Grand Slam semi in Melbourne

Lucas Pouille reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final after beating 16th seed Milos Raonic in four sets at the Australian Open.

Serena Williams squanders four match points as Karolina Pliskova battles into semis

Serena Williams squanders four match points as Karolina Pliskova battles into semis

Serena Williams squandered four match points as Karolina Pliskova remarkably battled back from 5-1 down in the final set to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

Naomi Osaka blows away Elina Svitolina to reach Melbourne semis

Naomi Osaka blows away Elina Svitolina to reach Melbourne semis

Naomi Osaka produced a supreme performance in her hunt for back-to-back Grand Slam titles as she reached the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time with a straight-sets victory over sixth seed Elina Svitolina.

Ruthless Rafael Nadal ends Frances Tiafoe's Australian Open fairytale

Ruthless Rafael Nadal ends Frances Tiafoe's Australian Open fairytale

Rafael Nadal overcame American youngster Frances Tiafoe in straight sets 6-3 6-4 6-2 to book his place in the last four of the Australian Open.

Petra Kvitova overcomes home favourite Ashleigh Barty in straight sets to reach semis

Petra Kvitova overcomes home favourite Ashleigh Barty in straight sets to reach semis

Petra Kvitova produced a convincing performance to reach the Australian Open semi-finals after a 6-1 6-4 victory over Ashleigh Barty.

Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches Australian Open semis with win over Roberto Bautista Agut

Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches Australian Open semis with win over Roberto Bautista Agut

Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his history-making charge at the Australian Open after a four-set victory over Roberto Bautista Agut saw the 20-year-old reach the semi-finals.

Danielle Collins fights back to reach first-ever Grand Slam semi-final

Danielle Collins fights back to reach first-ever Grand Slam semi-final

Danielle Collins fought back from a set down to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6 7-5 6-1 to reach her first-ever Grand Slam semi-final.

Novak Djokovic sees off Daniil Medvedev to continue Australian Open charge

Novak Djokovic sees off Daniil Medvedev to continue Australian Open charge

Novak Djokovic reached his 10th Australian Open quarter-final after coming throuhg in four sets against Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-7 6-2 6-2 in a war of attrition on Monday.

RELATED NEWS

Novak Djokovic into Australian Open semis after Kei Nishikori retires with injury
Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori 6-1 4-1 ret.

Novak Djokovic into Australian Open semis after Kei Nishikori retires with injury

Novak Djokovic made it into the semi-finals of the Australian Open after Kei Nishikori was forced to withdraw injured at 6-1 4-1 down.

Lucas Pouille ends Milos Raonic's run to reach first Grand Slam semi in Melbourne
Lucas Pouille vs Milos Raonic 7-6 6-3 6-7(2) 6-4

Lucas Pouille ends Milos Raonic's run to reach first Grand Slam semi in Melbourne

Lucas Pouille reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final after beating 16th seed Milos Raonic in four sets at the Australian Open.

Serena Williams squanders four match points as Karolina Pliskova battles into semis
Karolina Pliskova vs Serena Williams 6-4 4-6 7-5

Serena Williams squanders four match points as Karolina Pliskova battles into semis

Serena Williams squandered four match points as Karolina Pliskova remarkably battled back from 5-1 down in the final set to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

Naomi Osaka blows away Elina Svitolina to reach Melbourne semis
Naomi Osaka vs Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-1

Naomi Osaka blows away Elina Svitolina to reach Melbourne semis

Naomi Osaka produced a supreme performance in her hunt for back-to-back Grand Slam titles as she reached the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time with a straight-sets victory over sixth seed Elina Svitolina.

Ruthless Rafael Nadal ends Frances Tiafoe's Australian Open fairytale
Rafael Nadal vs Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Ruthless Rafael Nadal ends Frances Tiafoe's Australian Open fairytale

Rafael Nadal overcame American youngster Frances Tiafoe in straight sets 6-3 6-4 6-2 to book his place in the last four of the Australian Open.

Petra Kvitova overcomes home favourite Ashleigh Barty in straight sets to reach semis
Petra Kvitova vs Ashleigh Barty 6-1 6-4

Petra Kvitova overcomes home favourite Ashleigh Barty in straight sets to reach semis

Petra Kvitova produced a convincing performance to reach the Australian Open semi-finals after a 6-1 6-4 victory over Ashleigh Barty.

Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches Australian Open semis with win over Roberto Bautista Agut
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2)

Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches Australian Open semis with win over Roberto Bautista Agut

Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his history-making charge at the Australian Open after a four-set victory over Roberto Bautista Agut saw the 20-year-old reach the semi-finals.

Danielle Collins fights back to reach first-ever Grand Slam semi-final
Danielle Collins vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6 7-5 6-1

Danielle Collins fights back to reach first-ever Grand Slam semi-final

Danielle Collins fought back from a set down to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6 7-5 6-1 to reach her first-ever Grand Slam semi-final.

Novak Djokovic sees off Daniil Medvedev to continue Australian Open charge
Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-7 6-2 6-2

Novak Djokovic sees off Daniil Medvedev to continue Australian Open charge

Novak Djokovic reached his 10th Australian Open quarter-final after coming throuhg in four sets against Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-7 6-2 6-2 in a war of attrition on Monday.