NEW YORK (AP) — Roberta Vinci has stunned Serena Williams to end her Grand Slam bid in one of the greatest upsets in tennis history.
The 43rd-ranked Italian won 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the U.S. Open semifinals Friday.
Vinci had never won a set off the 21-time major champion in four previous meetings and was in her first career Grand Slam semifinal at age 32.
So tense she was guiding in overheads, Williams became more and more frustrated by Vinci’s defense and creative shot-making in the final two sets. She had won in three sets 11 times in majors this year in her pursuit of the first Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988, but was unable to dig out of this hole.
Unseeded Roberta Vinci has pushed Serena Williams to a third set in the U.S. Open semifinals.
With Williams two victories from completing the first Grand Slam since 1988, Vinci won a set off the 21-time major champion for the first time in five meetings.
Vinci, in her first Grand Slam semifinal, took the second set 6-4, saving a break point in the final game, after Williams won the first 6-2 on Friday.
Williams has won in three sets 11 times at the majors this year.
Flavia Pennetta has reached her first Grand Slam final at age 33.
The Italian routed second-seeded Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3 at the U.S. Open on Friday. While Pennetta looked calm and moved freely, Halep, a decade her junior, seemed tense and drained.
The Romanian, who made last year’s French Open final, had 23 unforced errors to 10 winners.
Pennetta trailed 3-1 in the second set before winning 15 straight points to move within a game of victory. She broke Halep’s serve to clinch the win, burying her face in her hands in stunned joy after hitting her 23rd winner on match point.
The 26th-seeeded Pennetta faces Serena Williams or Roberta Vinci in Saturday’s final.