MELBOURNE: Caroline Wozniacki thought “this can’t be real” as she finally won her first Grand Slam title on Saturday (Jan 27) and regained world number one status for the first time in six years.

Wozniacki threw her racquet in the air and collapsed to the ground in tears after battling Simona Halep found the net on match point in the Australian Open final.

“On that match point I thought this can’t be real. It wasn’t just being Australian Open champion, it was Grand Slam champion and world number one,” said the Dane after finally triumphing in her 43rd Grand Slam tournament.

“There’s a lot going through your mind at that point. You’re like, No, I had an opportunity.

“I should have hit it a little bit differently. When I saw that ball go into the net, it was crazy emotional.”

It was the climax of a thrilling 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 6-4 win against the tough Romanian top seed after 2hr 49min of a gruelling encounter played in high heat and humidity on Rod Laver Arena.

“It was such a tough grind. It was very hot out there. I think both of us were very tired in the end,” said Wozniacki, 27, who recorded her fifth – and most important – victory against Halep in seven career meetings.

The Dane also set a new record for the longest gap between stints at the top since computerised rankings were introduced in 1975, eclipsing Serena Williams’s record of five years and 29 days.

“Obviously that’s very special. I think being new Grand Slam champion and world number one sounds pretty good,” said Wozniacki. “I’m very excited for that. It’s a dream come true.”