'So sad': Australian Open heartbreak leaves Caroline Wozniacki in tears

Caroline Wozniacki’s tennis farewell couldn’t have been any more fitting.

The former Australian Open champion bowed out of the sport in typically fighting fashion, going down to Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur in a third round thriller.

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Renowned for being one of the greatest competitors throughout her career on the women’s circuit, Wozniacki went down 7-5 3-6 7-5 to Jabeur on Melbourne Arena on Friday.

Champion at Melbourne Park two years ago, Wozniacki choked back tears as she paid special tribute to her lifelong coach and father Piotr.

"I usually don't cry, so sorry but these are the special memories that I will always cherish," said the former world No.1.

Caroline Wozniacki bid an emotional farewell to tennis at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty

"It's been a great ride. I'm ready for the next chapter. I'm really excited about what's next to come."

Revered as one of the fiercest fighters women's tennis has ever seen, Wozniacki landed her only grand slam crown in Melbourne with an epic victory over Simona Halep.

Wozniacki was unable to get close to emulating that feat as Jabeur’s brilliant victory brought the curtain down on the 29-year-old’s career.

There were moving scenes inside Melbourne Arena as the crowd belted out Neil Diamond's classic 'Sweet Caroline' in honour of the former champion.

Tributes to Wozniacki came rolling in thick and fast on social media as fans paid their respects to the Dane.

‘You're an inspiration’

The emotions were running high at Melbourne Park but Wozniacki still managed to crack a joke amongst the many tears.

"It was only fitting that my last match would be a three-setter, a grinder, and a forehand error. I've been working on those things my whole career. I guess this was just meant to be," the Great Dane said after bowing out 7-5 3-6 7-5 on Melbourne Arena.

In backing up her first-round upset win over 12th seed Johanna Konta, Jabeur is through to the last 16 at a major for the first time in her career.

"I'm really happy, especially because this grand slam I usually lose first round," the 25-year-old said.

"I don't have much experience so I was nervous, especially in that last set.

"I'm really happy I played Caro - you're an inspiration to me and so many players.

"I was actually a little bit stressed about that. It's her moment and I don't want to take that away from her."

The only Arab to have ever made a WTA Final, Jabeur will play giant-killing Qiang Wang on Sunday for a spot in the quarter-finals after China's 27th seed sent seven-times champion Serena Williams packing with a 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 7-5 upset win.

With AAP