The second seed won 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-4 in punishing conditions to finally land a major title at the 43rd attempt.
It's been some turnaround for the Dane, who won more matches than any other professional on the WTA tour a year ago, eventually leading to her being back on top of the world.
"I was in this position in (the) French Open, so I can make (it) a better match", the Romanian said of her approach to the AO2018 final.
"I can still smile". "I'm just waiting for the question 'When are you going to win the second one?'" This is her first appearance in the final at Melbourne, though she played in two French Open finals, the most recent being a losing effort in 2017.
Wozniacki will also regain the No. 1 ranking next week, six years after she previously held the top spot.
"I think that's one of the most positive things about all of this", Wozniacki said.
"I've dreamt of this moment for so many years and to be here today is a dream come true", Wozniacki said. I never cry, but this is a very emotional moment.
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Simona Halep triumphed over, not only her opponent Angelique Kerber, but also herself in a three-set battle that saw both players push themselves to inconceivable levels and leave us all with dropped jaws.
"I know that today, it's a tough day".
"The body was not ready because I had so many long matches. but mentally I was ready", she said.
"And we were playing all these insane long rallies, I was thinking, "OK, I'm looking over there, she looks a little exhausted, she must be feeling the exact same way or maybe more exhausted than me". I started not very well with an ankle injury. Wozniacki had looked down and out when Halep broke to lead for the first time at 4-3, but Wozniacki reeled off three straight games after taking her own medical timeout.
Halep might be the number one but second seed Wozniacki has had the better of their previous meetings, leading the head-to-head 4-2.
Halep is now 0-3 in Slam finals, but you can't say the loss was a career downturn. Collins had labeled Wozniacki as "The Golden Retriever" for the blond-haired Dane's incredible ability to move from side to side along the baseline, not missing many shots and recovering wide balls like she was attractive golden canine incessantly running after balls thrown on a beach or backyard.
"But I will fight and hopefully I will face another challenge like I did today". Set 2 was one way traffic for a determined Halep, she saved four break points early in the second, then broke Wozniacki for 5-3 and saved three more break points to serve out the set. "We've had ups and down, but you've been there every step of the way". It's been a great tournament to me.
The heat rule was in effect should either player wish to use it, and Halep took the chance to halt proceedings for 10 minutes and allow both finalists to head off court in search of air-conditioning.