Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pennetta nets first major title, will retire soon

Flavia Pennetta, shown at Indian Wells in March,
beat longtime friend and fellow Italian Roberta
Vinci 7-6 (4), 6-2 today to win the U.S. Open.
Pennetta, 33, then announced she will retire
after this season. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Flavia Pennetta is going out on top.
   After defeating longtime friend and fellow Italian Roberta Vinci 7-6 (4), 6-2 today in an unlikely U.S. Open final, Pennetta announced she will retire after this season.
   Pennetta, 33, became the oldest woman in the Open era, which began in 1968, to win a Grand Slam title for the first time. Both players appeared in their maiden Grand Slam final.
   It was also the first time since the inception of the WTA computer rankings in 1975 that both U.S. Open finalists were ranked outside the top 20. Pennetta was seeded 26th with the same ranking, and Vinci was unseeded at No. 43.
   "This is how I say goodbye to tennis," Pennetta said. "I couldn't think to finish in a better way."
   Vinci, 32, shocked Serena Williams in Friday's semifinals. Williams was trying to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to achieve a calendar-year Grand Slam.
   "I passed 24 hours with a lot of things on mind," Vinci said. "And I was a little big tight, especially in the first set."
   Pennetta and Vinci grew up 38 miles (61.2 kilometers) apart in southern Italy and have known each other since they were 10.  
   "We know each other since forever," Pennetta said. "We spend so much time together, we could write a book about our lives."
   No. 12 seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut became the first French pair to win a U.S. Open title in doubles, beating No. 8 Jamie Murray of Great Britain and John Peers of Australia 6-4, 6-4.
   Murray, Andy's older brother, and Peers suffered their second straight loss in a Grand Slam final. Neither has won a major title.
   Northern California connection -- No. 2 seed Mackenzie McDonald, a UCLA junior from Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, defeated No. 4 Gonzales Austin, a recent Vanderbilt graduate, 6-2, 7-5 to win the American Collegiate Invitational.


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