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Pennetta tops Vinci to claim US Open Women's crown

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Flavia Pennetta conquered her great friend and compatriot Roberta Vinci to take an emotional US Open title. It was a maiden slam for the 33 year old as she became the oldest ever first time winner of a slam in the Open era. In a facile victory, Pennetta overcame her nerves and her opponent in a tight first set before romping home to win 7-6(4), 6-2 in 93 minutes. Pennetta who became the first ever Italian US Open champion, will now rise to her highest ever ranking of number eight in the world following the triumph.

In the oldest ever slam final between two 30+ Italians, Roberta Vinci put up a great fight initially but struggled to reprise her heroics from yesterday. She was a more than gracious finalist and won the fans hearts with her pleasing personality. Pennetta for her part was also excellent after the match, saying she was thrilled to win her first ever slam fulfilling her childhood dream to do so. What was exceptionally pleasing was to see the camaraderie between the childhood friends during the presentation ceremony. As if the surprises weren’t enough, Pennetta chose that moment to also drop the bombshell that she now would be retiring from tennis. As goodbyes go, this one is undoubtedly among the most remarkable!

A couple of hours earlier it all started with Pennetta winning the toss and choosing to receive. It was a tentative beginning for both women as they struggled to manage their nerves in the most important match of their lives. Although both held their serves initially, it was Vinci who surrendered the initiative first as in a terribly loose game, a weak netted slice handed Pennetta the break on her 7th break point. The break got rid of some of Pennetta’s nerves and allowed her to strike the ball more freely. A stunning backhand winner up the line emphatically ended a backhand exchange and she showed excellent touch on a forehand dropshot to consolidate the break to love going up 4-2.

However a final between two first time finalists is rarely a straightforward affair and Roberta Vinci recognising the danger upped her game taking the quality of the match up by several notches. Attacking with greater gusto, the Serena conqueror broke back to arrest Pennetta’s momentum and took it a step further as she twice forced Pennetta to serve to stay in the set. To the 33 year old’s credit, hold she did to take it into a tie-break. The tie break was almost a microcosm of the first set as once again the momentum yo-yoed between the two before Pennetta decisively took the advantage and took the crucial first set 7-4 with a service winner.

The second set began at the best of levels as both Pennetta and Vinci found the range that had eluded them through much of the first set. Pennetta in particular looked assert her authority on the matchup with superb groundstrokes complemented by some breath-taking touch in the forecourt brought the New York crowd to their feet. Vinci was not far behind with an outrageous dropshot being the highlight, but lacked the consistency to stay with Flavia surrendering her very first service game in the set.  With the early break in her back pocket, the Pennetta engine was now purring nicely totally dominating the relatively hapless Vinci to surge to a 4-0 lead. Vinci now needed to dig deep to stall the Pennetta romp and the pint sized Italian briefly did exactly that as she broke and then held to 2-4 as the clouds grew darker over the Arthur Ashe stadium.

It was however short-lived as Pennetta stemmed the rot and prevented the sort of comeback that Vinci had mounted yesterday. The backhand serving her wonderfully, she set up matchpoint and Vinci finally had to surrender as a Pennetta forehand flew past her on matchpoint.

Final Score:

F. Pennetta d R. Vinci 7-6(4), 6-2