Serena Continues Road To History Tonight In US Open SFs, Can The Italians Play Spoil A 1-2 Party?
by Staff | September 10th, 2015, 9:32 am

Serena Williams resumes her bid for a Calendar Year Grand Slam tonight against Roberta Vinci in the US Open primetime semifinals.

Serena, who has won 33 straight Grand Slam matches and 26 in a row at the US Open, has never lost to the Italian winning all four meetings.

Vinci is playing her first Grand Slam semifinal after the 32-year-old outlasted Kristina Mladenovic Tuesday in three sets.

Vinci won’t be the only Italian in action tonight, she’s joined by Flavia Pennetta. The 33-year-old Pennetta reached her second career US Open semifinal overcoming a set and a break down to beat Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

“I think we both play very well,” Pennetta said. “It was a good fight. In the end I play a little bit better. Physically I was better than her in the last set, so that was the difference, for sure.

“Of course I’m really, really happy. It’s something incredible. Before the tournament I never think to be so far in the tournament, so it’s something special. It’s something amazing for me in this moment.”

It marks the first time in the Open Era two Italian women have reached a Slam semifinal.

Pennetta will meet World No. 2 Simona Halep who beat the rain and 2-time runner-up Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach her first US Open semifinal, third of her Grand Slam career.

“It was an amazing match. She played fantastic,” Halep said. “In the first set I was playing my best tennis, and I knew I could win the match, but I also knew she’s very strong and she never gives up.

“After the first set I was a bit behind the baseline, which wasn’t good, and she was dominating me on the court. I was running well, but I didn’t have enough power to hit from very far off the court.

“The rain delay was perfect for me. It was unbelievable that I had another chance. So I said with my coach, ‘I have to do everything I did in the first set and get this one, because it’s made for me.'”

Pennetta leads Halep 3-1 including a win over her in Miami this year and in the fourth round of the 2013 US Open.

“We have similar game because she has a strong backhand, I have the strong backhand,” Halep said of Pennetta. “It’s just she’s aggressive, as well, and I have to make her run like I do with all the players. But first I have to think about my game and what I have to do on court.”

More notes on the semifinals:
– Only one of the semifinalists has won a Grand Slam singles title previously:Williams has 21 in total – including six US Open titles (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)

– Serena Williams is bidding for her 26th Grand Slam singles final. In the Open Era, Chris Evert reached the most Grand Slam finals, with 34 (18-16 win-loss record), followed by Martina Navratilova (32; 18-14) and Steffi Graf (31; 22-9). Margaret Court reached 29 Grand Slam singles finals, going 24-5 overall and 11-1 in the Open Era.

– Simona Halep has advanced to one Grand Slam final previously: 2014 Roland Garros (l. Sharapova).

– For the first time in the Open Era, Italy has two women into the semifinals of a Grand Slam (Pennetta, Vinci).

– Flavia Pennetta is contesting her second Grand Slam semifinal, having lost to Azarenka at 2013 US Open.

– Vinci is making her Grand Slam SF debut; both Italians are bidding for their career-first Grand Slamfinals.

– Vinci is the 16th unseeded player to advance to a Grand Slam SF since 2001 Wimbledon (first Slam with 32 seeds).

– This is the third successive year an unseeded player has advanced to the SF at the US Open.

– Simona Halep is the first Romanian to reach SF at US Open since Irina Spirlea in 1997 (l. V.Williams in third set tie-break). he would be bidding to become the first Romanian to advance to the US Open final in the Open Era. Halep’s manager, fellow Romanian Virginia Ruzici, is a two-time US Open quarterfinalist (1976, 1978).

– Serena Williams has dropped the fewest games (37) en route to SF and spent the least time on court (6h 37m).

– Flavia Pennetta has dropped the most games (44), but Halep has spent the most time on court (8h 29m).

– Serena Williams is bidding for her sixth title of the season; Halep her fourth; and Pennetta and Vinci their first.

– Number of hard court titles won by the semifinalists: Williams (45), Halep (7), Pennetta (3), Vinci (3).

– Among the semifinalists, Serena has delivered the most aces at this US Open – 38 from 5 matches – although Venus was the leader through the end of QFs, with 41 aces. Serena has served twice as many aces as the next semifinalist, Pennetta – 19.

– Serena Williams is the tournament leader for serve speed – 125mph (tied with Lisicki). None of the other semifinalists feature in the Top 20 on the serve speed count.

– For the first time at any Grand Slam since 1982 US Open, all four quarterfinals went to three sets.

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41 Comments for Serena Continues Road To History Tonight In US Open SFs, Can The Italians Play Spoil A 1-2 Party?

Dan The Man Says:

Why has there been no article about the Wednesday matches? They were big matches: 2 women’s QF and two men’s QF. This article is for Thursday matches, but not a single one for the Wednesday matches.

phil Says:

Surely she’ll win it? have your say at

FedExpress Says:

didnt halep say she wishes that serena wins the USO. if they meet in the final give serena the trophy already. state of women tennis is so low.

RZ Says:

@FedExpress – I don’t think Halep would be a pushover. I’m sure she meant that if she wasn’t going to win the title, she would want Serena to win the slam.

Daniel Says:

Weather is awful for today in NY, rain forecasted for tonight, maybe they will not even play. Hope the wind carry the rain away tono mess things up for mens semis tomorrow.

FedExpress Says:

Hope it rains and mens final is on a monday. I could watch it then.

RZ Says:

Well so far it looks like Pennetta is in full control. Is Halep going to fight back?

sienna Says:

Bartoli is a hot Fox. She should have been on diet when she was pro. chances of winning more slams would have been increased with considerable margin. She did managed to win wimbly with 10 ks overweight.

chris ford1 Says:

Flavia Pennetta – Beautiful lady and rock solid tennis player. 10 WTA titles, part of Italy’s 4 Fed Cup titles. Has had a few lost years due to wrist injuries.
Overlooked by too many casual tennis fans who only think Slam Count matters.
Made a USO semi before. Now in her first US Open Final at age 33.
Certainly an underdog against The Beast, just as she was against Kvitova and Halep.
Maybe better that she faces Serena than Halep, as Simona made some unfortunate remarks about how she hoped Serena wins the USO and how happy Simona would be for Williams.

jatin Says:

Serena shouting on every point…. Wow
She leads 3-2.. Can vinci provide resistance. The court is too animated right now :)

jatin Says:

So vinchi breaks … upset on cards ?

Krishna Says:

Wow thats crazy.. cant watch the match..Is Serena nervous and making errors?

RZ Says:

What happened to the woman who refuses to lose? Or did Vinci adopt that persona?

Krishna Says:

She looks to be moving it nerves or an injury?

senthil Says:

ESPN is in loss now !! No Serena in Finals.. Two Italians LOL

andrea Says:

OMG i mean….holy crap. no one even gave her a chance….

way to go roberta.


Krishna Says:

wow amazing! must be one of the biggest upsets ever..

jalep Says:

Omg. Roberta Vinci, she did it: “The best moment of my life” she says. Bravissima…Roberta.

She’s sorry…sorry to spoil the party in NYC.

It might be tough for her tomorrow vs Flavia.

Speaking of Flavia…that link I posted was from 2009…sorry! Flavia’s coach is Salvador Navarro who used to work with Ferrer and Robredo.

kriket Says:

So, she’s out! The party’s crashed lol. I’m so happy things didn’t go as everyone hoped/predicted etc. Not happy for her loss, just happy that it’s proven unpredictable yet again.

Thangs Says:

so so happy …i can’t withstand her attitude..

nits Says:

This year’s women semifinal upsets are bigger then last year men’s semifinal upset

Purcell Says:

Wow. Vinci cracked the code.
Great to see some all-court tennis for a change.

Margot Says:

Nice one Purcell :)
If only we had emoticons I’d give you a clap!

jane Says:

brad gilbert calls her “Da Vinci Code” all the time.
but purcell cracked the best one. :)

chris ford1 Says:

My oh, my!!! Who could have EVER guessed an all-Italian USO Final??
Pennetta and Vinci got there playing courageously and mowing down higher ranked opponents.
Props. Huge props to the two gals.

Fans of the big player they call “My Queen” will be on ice for a while. No more talk of The Queen, her Amazing Stats of Colossal Importance to Some, or her GOATITUDE. At least until Australia….

A good day for the WTA and competitive woman’s tennis. It’s now a sport again, not Serena’s playpen.

jalep Says:

so wow! just heard ESPN sports center reporting that ticket prices for the women’s final are plummeting like nothing seen before.

If I had no obligations, I’d go hop a flight to NYC for the FINAL at 40 bucks a ticket.

Markus Says:

Interesting spin by TV commentators led by Evert claiming Serena’s failure was due to the depth of the field now compared with when Steffi completed hers. Doesn’t she know that three of those who Steffi beat are now in the tennis hall of fame: herself, Navratilova and Sabatini? She and Martina are even considered among the best ever.

jane Says:

jalep me too! i would go for sure.

tennis has become a bit too much of a “celebrity culture” in recent years, especially at the us open. it’s all about stars.

i mean why wouldn’t you want to see one of those women win their first slam? i would!

when schiavone beat stosur at the french it was a fab final. i think this one could be similar?

Markus Says:

Didn’t the tickets for the women’s finals sell out a while ago? It was reported to have sold out much faster than the men’s. Those black market ticket vendors must be banging their heads against a wall now.

jane Says:

markus, that is strange commentary indeed.

jalep Says:

I dunno Markus. Yeah, they said it sold out before the men’s final did, since it was Serena playing. But there are the scalpers…haven’t tried it but ticket scalpers and people probably trying to unload their tickets. One of those sports guys made the comment – that tickets prices were falling fast – could probably pick one up for 40 dollars.

Which is sad, actually. Most ticket holders for the women’s final won’t have a clue who Pennetta and Vinci are. Hopefully it won’t be an empty stadium.

just checked one online site – 67.00 and falling probably.

jalep Says:

Yep. easy to get a ticket for $15 and up –


jane Says:

not real tennis fans, then, i guess?

Emily Says:

The crowd seemed a bit quiet with Serena fairly tame in that 3rd set. Maybe everyone was in shock, but if you’ve never been to a slam final, this would be the year to get tickets (no offense to the Italians)
Also, that Serena press conference was painful, very awkward

Ahfi Says:

Here is the deal. I am not surprised. I would have done whatever Vinci did too. If I am going to play somebody and everybody is already assuming that that person is a shoo-in, which means I do not matter, I would do everything to prove people wrong. I guess that is what Vinci did. But that is OK. Serena, take heart. You came very close and I believe you will still be known as the greatest!! I am guessing there is still history to be made, right? What about Roger winning US Open at this age? The other history could be the first Italian winning US Open? Has that already been done? Or the actual history so far is two Itlians in a grand slam final? Does anybody know?

kriket Says:

Talking about on-court manners, how about Serena’s manner of screaming, celebrating opponents errors?
How about barely shaking her hand at the net?
How about her generally obnoxious behaviour overall? Insulting judges, threatening line judge that one time when she got disqualified.

She’s the most obnoxious player I’ve ever known, no matter how good a player she is.

Markus Says:

“Scalpers”, thanks, jalep. That was the word I was looking for. They probably hoarded the tickets and now will have a hard time recouping their capital.

Markus Says:

Halep must be pulling her hair right now. She probably set her sight on Serena and forgot to focus on her semifinal opponent.

chris ford1 Says:

Maybe cheaper tickets, less fans in the seats, but overall a positive if the WTA can reimage itself as a truly competitive sport again. (Not that Serena is finished). But just for a bit, women’s tennis will be seen as a sport hotly contested vs. a routine, repetitive coronation of Queen Serena – event. The “1-Star Only system does not work, and predictable dominance is boring to the audience.

Two players from the same small country, both going further than they ever have in a Slam??? Priceless! Also stuff that inspires younger players from smaller nations seeing Swiss, and Serbs, and Italians and Aussies making it – and motivates big country tennis programs a bit more.

kriket Says:

Italy is not “small country” btw. It is maybe compared to USA or China, but in European terms not small.

Colin Says:

By Jiminy, Kriket, I thoroughly agree with you.

I’m glad to know there is at least one other person who can’t stand Williams. If she’d been banned from the sport some time ago, as she should have been, I’d gladly forego the excitement of watching her when she plays her best, just as I stopped watching McEnroe and Nastase many years ago. Rugby Union is not a game filled with saintly behaviour, but no player would get away with abusing and threatening officials.

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