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Viva Italiano as Vinci stuns Serena to setup all Italian US Open Final

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Serena Williams' pursuit of Steffi Graf's 1998 accomplishment - a Calendar Grand Slam - and her Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam titles has been put on hold as the world no.1 crashed out in incredible fashion to unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals of the US Open on Friday afternoon.

In what was truly an incredible match, Vinci's desire to run down every ball and her all court game stunted the legendary American's prowess when it appeared for all money that recreating history was in Serena's grasp.

In the first of the women's semi-finals on Friday, 26th seed Flavia Pennetta had already set hearts aflutter when she stunned world no.2 Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3 in what was largely a one-sided contest. Halep, who had put in so much in her quarter-final victory over Victoria Azarenka, appeared to be running on empty and made uncharacteristic errors to hand Pennetta an easy win.

Flavia raced through the opening set and apart from a momentary blip when she lost three games in a row to surrender a 3-1 lead in the second, appeared in complete control of the contest. Flavia, rattled off the last 5 games of the match, including 19 of the last 21 points to romp into her first Grand Slam Final.

The defeat of Halep would have given Serena Williams a further boost heading into her semi-final match, knowing that she had two Italians, who had never beaten her standing in her way and history.

The first set went comfortably Serena's way as she raced through it 6-2 in 31 minutes, and it seemed like only a matter of time before she would take her record against Roberta Vinci to 5-0.

However, Vinci developed some self belief in the second set and made Serena work harder for every point, giving virtually nothing away. Roberta also started venturing further forward, looking to take advantage of her exceptional volleying skills to stretch the contest.

Suddenly out of nowhere she picked up a break of serve against the run of play and made the most of the opportunity to nick the set 6-4 and force the match into a decider.

Usually when she finds her back to the wall, Serena finds another level, that second set though had taken a lot out of her physically, and Vinci just wasn't giving her any free points. As her frustration grew, so did her unforced error count, and Serena made 19 in the third set alone, almost as many as she had in the first two sets combined.

The duo traded breaks early in the set before Vinci broke Serena in the 7th game to take what proved to be the decisive break. A nervy hold extended her advantage to 5-3, but Serena wasn't going to give up without a fight and she held on to her own serve to make Vinci have to serve for a play in the decider.

First serves continued to elude Vinci, who landed only 11 of 30 in the entire final set, yet she held serve amazingly to love to wrap up a thrilling 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win and book her place in her maiden Grand Slam final.

Women's Semi-final

[26] F Pennetta d. [2] S Halep 6-1 6-3

R. Vinci d. [1] S Williams 2-6 6-4 6-4