Simona Halep is already on my current Mount Rushmore of favorite tennis players, but my respect for her has grown even more during the 2018 Australian Open. She has emerged victorious in arguably the two best matches of the tournament. Her 15-13 third set escape over Lauren Davis and her 9-7 third set classic over Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals were both astonishing, high quality efforts. Simona still has one step to go to win her first major. Not only that, standing in her way is Caroline Wozniacki. That is going to be a tall order. However, win or lose Simona Halep in my mind leaves the first major of the year as the biggest and brightest star of the tournament. Not bigger in the way that Roger Federer is big, but rather bigger in the way that nobody had to reach deeper inside to advance than Simona. That is especially significant when juxtaposed against how in the past she has at times looked to have thrown in the towel in a few pressure situations. Let’s put that to rest once and for all. Halep has been all heart in this tournament.
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