World number one Simona Halep has made it through to the final of the Australian Open for the first time after beating Angelique Kerber 6-3 4-6 9-7 in the last four on Thursday.
The Romanian, who is now just one win away from claiming a first Grand Slam title, had looked to be on course to secure a relatively straightforward victory when she led by a set and a break, but 2016 champion Kerber battled back to force a deciding set.
Both women failed to convert match point opportunities during the decider before Halep eventually managed to hold her nerve and secure her place in Saturday’s final.
The 26-year-old always knew she would have to be at her very best to see off Kerber and she has paid tribute to her supporters, who have played a major role in her run through to the final.
“It was very tough. I’m shaking, I’m emotional,” said Halep.
“I knew it was going to be tough. She’s a tough opponent who is moving well and hitting from everywhere. I want to thank everyone for supporting me and helping me.”
Halep will face Dane Caroline Wozniacki in Saturday’s final at Melbourne Park after she secured a straight-sets victory over Elise Mertens in the day’s other semi-final.
Wozniacki is also aiming to secure her first Grand Slam title, while the world number ranking is also up for grabs for whoever wins Saturday’s contest.
Halep is priced at 1.75 to win the match and claim her maiden Grand Slam title, while Wozniacki is available at 2.25.