Tennis

Flavia Pennetta announces shock retirement in US Open victory speech

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Flavia Pennetta triumphed over her compatriot Roberta Vinci in a dramatic 7-6 6-2, ending her professional career on a high.

In one of the unlikeliest major finals in women's tennis, world number 26 Pennetta and unseeded Vinci, her former doubles partner at the same event, squared up at Flushing Meadows.

A packed Arthur Ashe stadium had bought tickets expecting to see Serena Williams make history by completing an incredible Calendar Grand Slam. 

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However, it was Pennetta’s turn to create history, becoming the oldest woman in the modern era to claim a maiden Grand Slam. 

However, the drama did not end there, upon accepting the trophy the Italian announced she had played her last match, bowing out of the sport.

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'This is how I would like to say goodbye to tennis,' she said, as per the Mail. 'I took a big decision before coming here. It's a dream come true.'

Watched also by her boyfriend, Italian men's number one Fabio Fognini, Pennetta narrowly outpointed her crafty baseline opponent by taking an hour-long first set 7-4 in the tiebreak.

The second set was more straightforward, with Pennetta using greater power in her groundstrokes, especially on the backhand, to pull ahead to a 4-0 lead, which proved decisive after a few late nerves.

Her late nerves were perfectly understandable, however, having entered a previous 49 Grand Slams without ever reaching a final before Saturday, a record for a first-time Grand Slam winner.

The win will take Pennetta, a 150-1 long shot to claim the title, to a career-high ranking of eight on Monday, before her retirement paperwork goes through and she is removed from the rankings.

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Topics:
US Open Tennis
Tennis

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