MELBOURNE – Top seed Simona Halep plays second seeded Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday in the final of the year's first Grand Slam.
Here are AFP's five things you may not know about this year's Australian Open women's singles final:
Rare meeting of top seeds
The final will be only the 17th time in Australian Open history that the number one and number two seeds have met for the title. First and second seeds have shared the meetings with eight wins each. The last time the top two met was in 2015 when Serena Williams beat second-seeded Maria Sharapova. The last time a second seed beat the first for the title was in 2000 when Lindsay Davenport overcame Martina Hingis.
Back from the brink
It is the first time in Grand Slam history that both finalists have saved match points earlier in the tournament. Halep is the first to do it in multiple matches and reach the final. She had to save three match points in the third round against Lauren Davis and two more against Angelique Kerber in the semi-final. Wozniacki saved two against unseeded Jana Fett in the second round. Kerber was the last player to win a Slam after saving match points, in 2016 in her first round win over Misaki Doi.
Long journey back to top
If Wozniacki wins the final she will regain the number one spot exactly six years after last holding the position, the longest gap between stints at the top since computerised rankings were introduced in 1975. She would beat the record of Serena Williams who went five years and 29 days between spells as number one.
Sowing seeds of success
In the Open Era, the top seed at the Australian Open has claimed the title on 20 occasions, including 10 of 15 years between 1983 and 1997. If Halep wins she will be the first top seed to win since Serena Williams in 2015 and the Romanian will extend her stay as number one to 17 weeks, having first hit the top in October 2017.
Finals come in threes
Wozniacki has now reached the final at her last three successive tournaments, the 2017 WTA Finals (defeating Venus Williams), 2018 Auckland (lost to Julia Goerges) and now the 2018 Australian Open. She has won 14 of her last 16 matches. Halep has reached the final in her last two, winning in Shenzhen and is currently on an 11-match unbeaten streak.