20:00 – Vinci v Pennetta
Pennetta leads their previous matches 5-4. She has won 3 of their last 4 including the most recent meeting which was at the US Open in 2013. She won in straight sets.
NO ONE predicted this final before the tournament started. WTA slams sometimes throw up an unexpected finalist. The US Open is the exception. It is very rare to get an outsider in the final, Never mind two! Pennetta is the least surprising as she usually performs better
at Flushing Meadows regardless of how she has played in previous weeks. A semi final for her wasn’t a huge shock. I expected more from Stosur in the 4th round even though she had never beaten Pennetta. Kvitova in the quarter final didn’t play a great match. Perhaps her Mono had something to do with that. She certainly didn’t serve near her best. Pennetta took full advantage though and her numbers were solid if not spectacular.
The semi final was where the dream was supposed to end. Her opponent, 2nd ranked Halep, had not had a smooth path to the semis. She had needed 3 sets to beat Lisicki in a match which saw both players take MTO’s. She then had to get past Azarenka and gave everything she had to get the job done in 3 sets. The gas tank must have been running low when she took on Pennetta. Halep won just 4 games but take nothing away from Pennetta. Most players wouldn’t have held themselves together to take advantage of the opportunity. She was playing for a place in her first ever slam final.
Earlier in the tournament Vinci admitted that she had had a good draw. Jankovic and Ivanovic could have made life difficult for her if they hadn’t lost early. Maybe even
Bouchard if she had fallen and smacked her head in the locker room forcing her to pull out could have gained some revenge for Vinci battering her in their recent meeting. However having got to the quarter final Vinci played an excellent match to beat Mladenovic in 3 sets. The it was just the small matter of meeting Serena Williams in the semis. Williams, world number 1. Winner of the last 4 slams and trying to make history by winning all 4 slams in the same calendar year. Williams who was playing in front of a home crowd. Williams who she had never beaten and hadn’t even managed to win a set from in their 4 meetings. What a time to play the match of her life! Serena showed she was human and the nerves got to her a little. The weight of expectation proved too much for her but Vinci was superb. Nerves of steel. She went into the match with nothing to lose but even in that third set where she knew she was within touching distance of the final she continued to play at a high level. She went an early break behind but fought back Most of the tennis world expected her to be broken when she served for the match but she held amazingly easily.
Pennetta starts as quite a strong favourite. When you have played the match of your life to beat the best in the world the next match is always going to be tough. People expect you to do it again. I think Vinci will struggle a little today. She has beaten Pennetta before and knows her game well. She won’t feel like she has nothing to lose this time.
I am hoping for a great match and 3 sets look likely. This isn’t the final we expected or even wanted but it is great for the women’s game and they are more than capable of making it exciting.
Pennetta to win in 3 sets. It would make a fitting end to her US Open career as this may be her last visit.