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U.S. Open: Pennetta wins her farewell title

Pannetta

Flavia Pennetta returns a forehand shot to Roberta Vinci during their Women’s Singles final match of the 2015 U.S. Open…on Saturday. PHOTO: AFP.

Flavia Pennetta defeated her close friend and teammate, Roberta Vinci, who had caused the greatest upset in her semi-final victory over Serena Williams.

Anticipating a historic calendar grand slam by the American, tennis fans had scrambled for the tickets, which sold out ahead of the seats for the Men’s finals. However, the tennis crowd witnessed another history.

The Italian Premier was in Arthur Ashe stadium as one Italian overcame the other 7-6; 6-2 for the title and a whopping $3.3 million prize money.

As they were ushered into the Arthur Ashe stadium, each clutching a bouquet of flowers, the two ladies received a standing ovation. It was recognition for their outstanding achievement in reaching the finals; considering their ages (both are 33 years) and their rankings.

Coming into the tournament, Pennetta was seeded 26 in the draw; Vinci was unseeded. Pennetta won the toss and opted to receive. This is often the choice of players who hope that the opponent may lose the first game due to early game nerves.

Vince Roberta defied that hope and took the first game without dropping a point. Pennetta also took first service game with an ace at game point. The fourth game was extended but Pennetta held on with a backhand passing shot at advantage.

The drama came in the fifth game, with Vinci serving. Down 30-40 she deuced four times before she lost the game and gave her opponent the first service break of the match.

It was a reverse experience for Pennetta who, though up 40-30 on her serve, was forced to deuce, saved three break points but lost the fourth to give Vinci the game. From four-all games went with serve and a tie break decided the set seven points to four in Pennetta’s favour.

Pennetta won her service to take the first game of the second set and broke Vinci to lead two games to love. She held serve to lead and broke Vinci again to lead four games to love.

Despite a sustained effort to hold serve in the fifth game, Pennetta lost when Vinci hit an overhead smash at game point. She followed by taking her game to reduce the tally to 4-2.

Pennetta went on the offensive and won the seventh game at love. Serving to stay in the match, Vinci went down 0-30; then offered her opponent an easy lob that was put away for three match points.

She missed her first serve and the second scraped the net. The second attempt was a weak delivery that Pennetta returned deep. Vinci again offered her opponent a ball that landed mid-court and was promptly driven down the line for a winner.

The two ladies hugged at the net for minutes; an expression of their friendship since childhood when they grew up in the same part of Italy. They had played doubles and won four titles in the Federation Cup (the women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup).

In their long career, they had played against each other eight times coming into the 2015 US Open and Pennetta won five times. In winning the US Open (the 11th in her career), Pennetta would return to the top 10 in the rankings.

However, she would not need that distinction. In the on-court interview following her victory, the new champion announced that the match was the last of her professional career. Arivadeci!!



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