Wait, what? That was basically the reaction on Saturday night, when just-crowned U.S. Open champion Flavia Pennetta finished her speech.
Pennetta’s move was especially baffling considering the U.S. Open marked her first major title in singles.
Venus Williams, 35, is the oldest woman in a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Martina Navratilova, then 37, at Wimbledon in 1994. I mean, I really think it’s the best way. I couldn’t finish in a better way. I couldn’t think to finish in a better way.
Williams was generally expected to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win the four Grand Slam tournaments in a calendat year, and had been mowing through the competition at the Open.
“I was exhausted … especially in the first set“, said Vinci. “It takes a lot of pressure out”.
“Before this tournament I never thought I could come so far”.
Pennetta detailed her retirement plans after the match, saying she will play to the end of the year, including events at Wuhan and Beijing and the WTA Finals in Singapore if she qualifies.
Vinci had unsettled Williams with her change of pace, variety and wily slice backhand, which she relied on again to great effect, breaking back for 4-4 when a Pennetta backhand hit the net.
“It doesn’t matter who you play or what round it is because you still have to stay focused every single day”, Vinci said. “So this is the ideal moment”.
After her historic victory, Pennetta whispered to Vinci her decision to retire as they sat next to each other on court, waiting for the presentation to begin.
“My life is flawless “, Pennetta said when asked how she would look back at the championship. “She was unbelievable”.
The 32-year-old, who was making her third appearance in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows, broke in Mladenovic’s opening service game and it proved enough for her to take the first set.
En route to the finals, Pennetta ousted 22nd- ranked Australian Samantha Stosur, Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova and Romanian second seed Simona Halep in the semi-final. And I don’t feel to have this power anymore sometimes.So this is the ideal moment, I think.
“Sometimes it’s getting hard for me to compete”.
Even if she lost on Saturday, Pennetta had decided she was done at season’s end. We’re going to win. “The decision was already there”, she said. She finally made up her mind at last month’s tournament in Toronto, although she had almost quit earlier in the summer. “Today probably this is my last cheeseburger, and then tomorrow pasta, real pasta at home”, she said, raising her hands to the sky in mock relief. “Was tough today but I tried to do my best. Just play tennis. That was my goal”. They lived together for four years-Pennetta told the Times Vinci was a “perfect” roommate-and have since have played together in doubles and on the Italian Fed Cup team, remaining “as close as any two players on tour”.