26th seed Flavia Pennetta needed only 59 minutes to stun 2nd seed Simona Halep 6-1 6-3 to reach the U.S. Open final. Pennetta is the 3rd Italian woman to reach a major final, following Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani, who reached the 2010 and 2012 French Open finals, respectively. Pennetta is the 1st Italian woman to reach the U.S. Open final. She won 19 of the last 21 points of the match after Halep had taken a 3-1 lead in the 2nd set.
“I just tried to play every match the best I could from the first one here. I was trying not to think too much about the draw and everything else and just focus on what I had to do when I got on court, match by match. And here I am in the final-i’m really, really, happy”. At 33, Pennetta is the oldest first-time Grand Slam finalist in the Open era. “It’s amazing because 20 days ago my physio asked me if I thought I could ever win a Grand Slam or be in the final of a Grand Slam and I said no. I think my answer was no for a lot of reasons, but like always, you never know. You just have to play and try your best and most of the time the good things come when you aren’t expecting them”.
For Halep, the loss caps a disappointing Grand Slam season despite reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and semifinals here. Those bookended a 2nd round loss at the French Open to Mirjana Lučić-Baroni and a 1st round loss to Jana Cepelova at Wimbledon. “Of course I take positive things. I’m happy with my results here. I’m happy that I could reach the semifinals at the U.S. Open for the first time-it’s the best Grand Slam for me this year”. On Pennetta’s play: “She played really well. She was strong. She was solid today. She deserved to win-she was better than me today. So I accept it and i’m looking forward to resting a few days and then starting again”.
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