Saturday, September 12, 2015

2015 US OPEN: Pennetta Wins 1st Major (And Announces She'll Retire By End of 2015!)

In the first ever all-Italian major women singles final, Flavia Pennetta defeated Roberta Vinci 7-6(4) 6-2 (as I predicted) to win the 2015 U.S. Open. The #26 seed completed her fairy tale run at the last major tournament of the year by beating one of her best friends and compatriots just one day after Vinci had achieved the biggest upset in tennis history by ending Serena Williams' streak of grand slam matches won at 33. Pennetta had to beat the #2 seed Simona Halep in the semifinals, #5 seed Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals and 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur in the 4th round. Her opponent in the final was one of her best friends, someone she has known since they were both 10 years old and were roommates for four years in Rome. Their camaraderie could be seen after the match in the warm embrace at the net and their interaction during the trophy presentation.

Pennetta stunned the tennis world by announcing her retirement during the trophy ceremony, by saying that she had "made a big decision a month ago" and that "this is how I say goodbye to tennis."
She later clarified in  post-match press conference that this was her last U.S. Open but that she would continue playing until the end of the year. She became the oldest first-time Grand Slam winner ever, and also the person who played the most major tournaments (49) before capturing a title. (The previous record holder was Marion Bartoli who had played 47 majors before winning Wimbledon in 2013; she decided to retire within  a month of that victory.)

By winning this match, Pennetta will receive $3.3 million, almost 30% of her previous career total of $10.5 million. In the stands was not only the Prime Minister of Italy who flew from Italy through the night, but also Pennetta's fiance' Fabio Fognini (ATP player currently ranked #32 who made a big splash at the tournament himself by eliminating Rafael Nadal in the 3rd round.)

Pennetta will move to World #8 in the rankings on Monday and could possibly qualify for the year-end championships in Singapore. Even though Serena's bid for the first calendar-year Grand Slam ended yesterday against Vinci, she tweeted out her support for Flavia's win and reaction to the retirement news.

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