NEW YORK – An unseeded veteran Italian player named Roberta Vinci took down U.S. Open favorite Serena Williams, ending her bid for a Grand Slam title.
Vinci, 32, beat Williams 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final, where she will face Flavia Pennetta. The all-Italian final will be the 10th match between the two players, but the first Grand Slam final for both.
Overwhelmed by emotion, Vinci took a long pause before describing the how it felt to beat Williams.
Her first words? “I’m sorry.” Vinci apologized for beating the home crowd favorite, and called Serena a “great player.”
“It’s an incredible moment for me. I’m in the final, I beat Serena, I’m sorry guys. So many things in my mind, it was an incredible match,” Vinci said.
Vinci was a 300-to-1 underdog when she took the court Friday, according to U.S. Open stats. She said when she woke up she tried not to think about Serena Williams and just have fun, regardless of the outcome.
Williams said she thought Vinci played the best tennis of her career. About her own performance, she said she didn’t think she had played that poorly, but may have made “more unforced errors than I normally make.”
Did the pressure of the big stage or starting out badly against a relatively-unknown opponent affect her game? No, Williams said.
“I never felt pressure playing this tournament,” said Serena after the game. “She played literally out of her mind.”
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