Beaten Serena fails to crack Vinci code at U.S. Open

Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:24pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roberta Vinci delivered one of the biggest upsets in tennis history with a U.S. Open semi-final win over Serena Williams on Friday that ended the American's Grand Slam bid and set up a surprising all-Italian final.

Two match wins from becoming the fourth woman to win all four majors in one year, a nerve-wracked Williams crumbled as unseeded Vinci, playing in her first grand slam singles semi-final, battled to an improbable 2-6 6-4 6-4 win.

"I don't want to talk about how disappointing it is for me," a grim-faced Williams told reporters. "I told you guys I don't feel pressure. I never felt pressure.

"I never felt that pressure to win here. I said that from the beginning."

The day got off to an ominous start when Flavia Pennetta stunned Romanian second seed Simona Halep 6-1 6-3 and the upset trend continued as an inspired Vinci soon followed her Italian compatriot out onto Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

Vinci, a 300-1 long-shot to win the U.S. Open when the two-week tournament began, remarkably pulled off one of the wildest scenes ever witnessed on a tennis court by ending Williams' streak of 33 consecutive match wins in the grand slams.

A five-times doubles grand slam winner, Vinci, 32, arrived at Flushing Meadows having never before been beyond the quarter-finals in singles play at 43 majors.

In the other corner stood Williams, a 21-times grand slam champion who had only lost two matches all season and never dropped a set against Vinci in their four previous meetings.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. listens to a reporter's question during a post-match press conference following her loss to Roberta Vinci of Italy in their women's singles semi-final match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton