Italy rules U.S. Open women's final

Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:29pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Italy rules at the U.S. Open tennis championships on Saturday when childhood friends and Fed Cup team mates Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci play for the women's title in the last grand slam of the year.

The 43rd-ranked Vinci, playing her grand slam singles semi-final, toppled the mighty Serena Williams, while number 26 Pennetta pounded past second seed Simona Halep of Romania to set up a totally unexpected clash in the finals.

It is the first all-Italian singles final in a grand slam and ensures Italy's first U.S. Open champion and second grand slam champion, after 2010 French Open winner Francesca Schiavone.

"All-Italian, yes!" said 32-year-old Vinci, after derailing Williams' bid for a first calendar-year Grand Slam sweep in 27 years.

"And tomorrow one Italian win for sure," added Vinci, brandishing a thumbs-up.

Born about 70 kilometers (43 miles) apart in southern Italy -- Vinci in Taranto and Pennetta in Brindisi -- they have battled close to even head-to-head, with the 33-year-old Pennetta holding a 5-4 edge, including a U.S. quarter-final win in 2013.

Vinci, a five-times grand slam doubles winner, has posted a 23-20 singles record including her run at the Open.

She benefited from a walkover against Canada's 25th seed Eugenie Bouchard, who withdrew after suffering a concussion in the locker room after her third-round match.   Continued...

Flavia Pennetta of Italy reacts after defeating Simona Halep of Romania in their women's singles semi-final match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Segar      
Picture Supplied by Action Images