At the trophy presentation, Pennetta floored the sellout crowd by announcing that she plans to retire.
The Italian retired only minutes after defeating compatriot and long-time friend Roberta Vinci 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to become the oldest first-time women’s Grand Slam champion at age 33.
In addition to becoming the third-oldest grand slam champion behind all-time greats Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams in the 47-year open era, Pennetta set new standards for patience. “I just have to say congrats to her”. After Vinci beat Williams, ticket prices for the final crashed, as The Wall Street Journal pointed out. Vinci was overjoyed by her shock win.
After surrendering a break and allowing Vinci to take things to a tiebreaker in the first set, Pennetta locked in, started painting the lines with searing backhands, and closed the set with two big, unreturned serves. To score the biggest win of her life only to come away empty-handed could have felt… well, empty.
Pennetta, who had previously climbed as high as 10th in the rankings in 2009 but will shoot up to eighth after this success, always seemed to save her best grand slam performances for the U.S. Open.
“I’m really happy right now”, Pennetta said while still on the court.
“I guess it’s inspiring”, she said. You deserved it. I am also happy for the rest of your life’s journey. “I didn’t think to be so far in the tournament“. I couldnt think to finish in a better way.. It’s a big surprise for me…it’s a dream come true. “This is the way I would like to say goodbye to tennis“, Pannetta told ABC’s Robin Roberts. There was nearly a festival atmosphere as the fans decided which of these experienced yet unheralded players – Pennetta is 33 and Vinci 32 – they were going to barrack for.
Flavia Pennetta has defeated fellow Italian Roberta Vinci in straight sets to become the oldest first-time women’s major champion in the Open era.
“I’ve never felt that pressure to win here, I’ve said that from the beginning”, she said.
“Sometimes it’s getting hard for me to compete”, Pennetta said. The players sought shelter in the tournament referee’s office, where they posed for pictures with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, who said he was “proud of their determination and their tenacity”. “Was tough today but I tried to do my best”.
Aside from her US Open resume there was little to hint at a US Open final by Pennetta, who by her own admission had an unimpressive run-up to the year’s final grand slam.
“Maybe that’s why I’m here today”, Pennetta said, explaining that she played every match over the last two weeks as if it could be her last at the U.S. Open. Two Italians reach the grand slam final – a miracle.
In one of the unlikeliest major finals in women’s tennis, the 26th-seeded Pennetta beat Vinci 7-6 (4), 6-2 on Saturday at Flushing Meadows.