New York, Sep 13 (IANS/EFE) Italian Flavia Pennetta topped countrywoman Roberta Vinci 7-6, (7-4), 6-2 on Saturday in the US Open final and then abruptly announced her retirement from professional tennis.
In one of the most surprising finals in recent memory, the 26th-seeded Pennetta pulled away after a tight first set and then surprised the crowd by saying “this is the way I’d like to say goodbye to tennis”.
The 33-year-old Italian said she had made the decision prior to this Grand Slam tournament and that her victory in New York made it the perfect time to bid farewell.
Pennetta began nervously by making numerous return errors, but she seized control in the first-set tiebreaker and then used her superior power from the baseline to dominate the action in the second set.
The 32-year-old Vinci, an unseeded player ranked No. 43, had to take the court less than 24 hours after her stunning three-set upset of Serena Williams in Friday’s semifinals, a victory that stymied the American’s quest for an ultra-rare calendar-year Grand Slam.
Saturday’s final marked the first time that two Italian tennis players – men or women – had ever squared off in a major singles final.