Pennetta and Vinci enjoy La Dolce Vita at U.S. Open

Wed Sep 9, 2015 7:04pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Italian flag was waving proudly over the U.S. Open on Wednesday after Flavia Pennetta toppled fifth seed Petra Kvitova to join compatriot Roberta Vinci in the Flushing Meadows semi-finals.

Defying the odds and rankings, 30-somethings Pennetta and Vinci put their names in the record books by becoming the first two Italian women in the Open Era to advance to the last four of a grand slam.

"I think this is really important for our country. We did a lot of good things in the last 10 years. We have me, Roberta (Vinci), Francesca (Schiavone), Sara (Errani), now Camila (Giorgi) is coming also," Pennetta told reporters.

"So I think it's really good for Italian tennis.

" I'm very proud. Of course yesterday when I saw Roberta in the locker, I mean, I hug her and I say -- I mean, she was amazing."

The dream of an All-Italian U.S. Open final, however, will require some special magic particularly from the 32-year-old Vinci, who has the daunting task of facing world number one and three-times defending U.S. Open champion Serena Williams.

The 33-year old Pennetta will take on second-seeded Romanian Simona Halep, who advanced with a three-set win over twice U.S. Open finalist Victoria Azarenka.

Pennetta has always been at home on the New York hardcourts having now advanced to the quarter-finals or beyond in six of her last seven visits to the National Tennis Center.   Continued...

Flavia Pennetta of Italy celebrates after defeating Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in their quarterfinals match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton