Halep outlasts Kerber in thriller to reach final

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Romania's Simona Halep hits a return against Germany's Angelique Kerber during their women's singles semi-finals match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2018.

Romania's Simona Halep hits a return against Germany's Angelique Kerber during their women's singles semi-finals match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2018.

WEB_PHOTO_HALP_AUS_OPEN_250118

Romania's Simona Halep hits a return against Germany's Angelique Kerber during their women's singles semi-finals match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2018.

Romania's Simona Halep hits a return against Germany's Angelique Kerber during their women's singles semi-finals match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2018.

MELBOURNE -  World number one Simona Halep quelled a tenacious Angelique Kerber fightback and saved two match points to reach her first Australian Open final with a 6-3 4-6 9-7 victory in a compelling scrap on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

A wildly unpredictable match veered one way, then the other, before Halep finally broke Kerber&39;s resistance to claim victory on her fourth match point when her exhausted opponent fired a backhand over the baseline.

When Halep won the first five games it seemed the expected battle royal between two of the game&39;s most ferocious competitors would turn into a damp squib.

But Kerber roared back and had two match points at 6-5 in a brutal deciding set before Halep turned it around with some brave hitting to seal victory in two hours and 20 minutes.

The 26-yaer-old plays Caroline Wozniacki in Saturday&39;s final when both players will be gunning for their first grand slam title and the world number one ranking.