Defending Australian Open women's singles champion, Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki.
Defending Australian Open women’s singles champion, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.Source: AP

Caroline Wozniacki has been coming to the Australian Open for more than a decade, but this year is different.

This time she is the defending champion.

The world No. 3 put years of frustration behind her last January when she saved a match point, before working past Romanian star Simona Halep to claim her first major.

Happy Halep wants another one

Happy Halep wants another one

0:51

“I think it’s a positive to be here as the defending champion. I’m just taking it as a nice, fun challenge,” Wozniacki told reporters at a press conference at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

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Ashleigh Barty’s dreams of a maiden home title have been crushed by Petra Kvitova in the Sydney International, beaten in a three-set epic 1-6 7-5 7-6 (7-3).

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After Barty shot out of the blocks in the first set and led the deciding set 3-0, world No.8 Kvitova fought back time and time again in the 2hr 19min classic while battling fatigue to claim her second Sydney crown.

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Forced to serve to stay in the match at the end of the second set, Czech No.5 seed Kvitova fought back to break Barty for the first time to take the set and send it to a decider.

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Both women broke each other three times in the third set, including back-to-back efforts from Barty as Kvitova served for the championship twice. Kvitova’s experience finally paid off as she powered home in the tiebreaker to claim her 26th WTA tour victory.

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In turn, it also handed Barty her second straight runner-up finish in Sydney, after losing to Angelique Kerber in last year’s final.

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“I left everything out here and it wasn’t quite enough,” Barty said. Regardless, it showed world No.15 Barty is ready to challenge anyone at next week’s Australian Open.

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She beat world No.1 Simona Halep, No.9 Kiki Bertens and No.12 Elise Mertens on her way to the final.

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Kvitova apologised to Barty and the Sydney crowd for spoiling the Australian’s Sydney party.

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“Not to win at home, I’m sorry,” Kvitova said.

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“You know, one day you’re going to make it for sure.”

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