September 8, 2015 / 7:39 PM / 2 years ago

Vinci first through to U.S. Open semi-finals

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci became the first woman through to the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Tuesday, outlasting Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 5-7 6-4 on another sizzling hot day at Flushing Meadows.

Roberta Vinci of Italy is sorrounded by cameras as she celebrates after defeating Kristina Mladenovic of France in their quarterfinals match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 8, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif Picture Supplied by Action Images

The 32-year-old veteran showed off her fighting spirit while Mladenovic, a decade younger, wilted in the punishing conditions using up all of her medical timeouts during the two-hour, 32-minute test.

A doubles specialist with a career grand slam on her resume, Vinci moved onto the final four in singles at a major for the first time in her 18-year career. She will take on the winner of the quarter-final between world number one Serena Williams and sister Venus.

”It’s an amazing moment for me. Unbelievable,“ beamed 43rd-ranked Vinci. ”My first semi-final in my career.

“It was an incredible match, so tight. But I fight a lot. At the end probably we both were a little bit tired and scared about the match but I’m so happy.”

Vinci, well-rested after receiving a walkover into the quarter-finals when Canadian Eugenie Bouchard was forced out of the tournament with a concussion, was pushed but never panicked against the young Frenchwoman.

After splitting the opening two sets the turning point of the match came at 3-3 in the third, when Mladenovic double-faulted twice to hand Vinci a break chance and the Italian gratefully converted to take charge.

“It’s not easy to play with your sister, and Serena has a lot of pressure, I think,” said Vinci. “I’m so happy to be in the semi-finals so if I play Serena or Venus it doesn’t matter.”

Editing by Andrew Both

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