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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

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Vinci ends Serena streak to face Pennetta in all-Italian US Open final
SyndiGate.info
Unheralded Roberta Vinci made history Friday as she ended Serena Williams' dream of a calendar-year grand slam with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 upset of the American.
 
Vinci will play for the title Saturday against Italian Flavia Pennetta, who began the afternoon with another upset, crushing second seed Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3 in a rout taking less than one hour.
 
"We had a lot of pressure," Vinci said. "I told myself 'You have a final, try to have fun.' I'm proud of my game. I told myself to just put the ball in the court and run, don't think of Serena on the other side."
 
The Italian Vinci did not flinch as Williams won the first set. But Vinci, owner of five grand slam doubles titles and a court-smart veteran like her opponent, had another scenario in mind.
 
The player who came to the court with 300-1 odds against her upset win, calmly fought her way back into the match, with a break of Williams in the fifth game of the second set for a 3-2 lead, providing a handy opening to level the match at one set each.
 
In the third, Williams, whose form had been patchy throughout the fortnight, broke for 2-0 only to lose it a game later on a double-fault. Vinci profited as her nervous seeded opponent netted a forehand to lose the seventh game, trailing 3-4.
 
From then on Vinci kept her level high, saving two break points in the eighth game to lead 3-5 and serving out her biggest career win two games later on the first of three match points, flicking a winner over the net out of Williams' reach.
 
"This is an incredible moment for me," said Vinci, close to tears for a moment as her momentous win began to sink in.
 
"I'm in a final. I beat Serena. This is just incredible. There are so many things in my mind. I tried to stay in every single point. When I served it out, I stayed focused and didn't think of Serena. This is the best moment of my life."
 
Williams had been bidding for the first calendar-year grand slam title sweep since Steffi Graf in 1988. The US player last lost in New York to Samantha Stosure in the 2011 final.
 
 
Pennetta, a decade the elder of Romanian Halep, went on a six-game winning streak after the third game of the match and won 15 consecutive points in the second to stamp her dominance on the seed, whose game was well off the boil.
 
Pennetta will play for her first singles title at a major in her 49th career grand slam appearance.
 
"Of course I'm really happy. I think I played really well from the beginning," she said.
 
"I just wait a little bit too much in the beginning of the second set, waiting for her mistake, and I didn't push a lot like before. But I'm really happy, because I was 3-1 down and I just starting again with what I had to do."
 
Pennetta was contesting her second grand slam semi-final, having lost to Victoria Azarenka at the 2013 US Open.
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