Today’s U.S. Open Women’s all-Italian Final pitted childhood friends head-to-head, with one earning her first, and final Grand Slam title.

By Patrick Comia

Viva la Italia!

That was today’s theme at the Women’s Final of the 2015 U.S. Open.

The match featured two fellow country women Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci. Both were not predicted to be in the Finals, and the headline was supposed to be number-one ranked women’s tennis player Serena Williams on the verge of history.

However, that narrative changed yesterday with Vinci’s 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 upset victory over the American.

Saturday would feature two players who were ranked nowhere near the top 10 in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings. Entering this afternoon, Pennetta was ranked 26th and Vinci at 43rd.

Yes, it wasn’t the attractive draw everyone hoped for. However, these women outlasted the pack, including Serena Williams, to end in the position they found themselves on center court.

When the match commenced, it was a back and forth affair. Both players traded unforced errors, either hitting the ball wide, long, or into the net. But what perhaps made it unique was that there was not an overpowering player with a smashing forehand or a 110+ MPH first serve.

Instead, it was a strategic match, with series after series of volleys, only interrupted by a mistake committed by both players. Backhands, cut-drop shots, and net play were the main tools used by the players this afternoon.

The first set served as a warm up for Pennetta, who faced the tougher road to the final having to overcome ranked players in her last three matches. She started nervously and it showed in her returns, hitting the ball long or wide.

Her opponent Vinci took the easier road the Saturday’s showdown with only meeting two ranked opponents, including Friday’s upset of Williams and denial of her bid for the calendar Grand Slam.

Standing at 5’4, she put up a fight and almost took the first set, after being down two game points in the middle of the set.

Both players, who have been friends since they were children in Italy, treated the Flushing meadows crowd to a 6-6 tiebreaker first set. Pennetta fended off the underdog Vinci to take the set, 7-6. The second set would be all Pennetta. She quickly took a 4-0 lead, and seemed to have found her groove. However, her playing opponent wouldn’t go quietly and was able to get within two points in the set, making it 4-2.

However, Pennetta would prove to be too much and dominated the last two points to win her first Grand Slam title in her career.

Both women shared laughs at the award ceremony, between each other and to the grateful New York crowd:

Then, it was Pennetta’s turn to be center stage. After thanking the crowd and the people who had supported her tennis career, she dropped a bombshell and announced this tournament would be her last. She would be retiring from the game of tennis, as a winner:

Pennetta truly left her best for last. In the U.S. Open’s first all-Italian finals, she rose as the champion, and that’s something that can never be taken away!

Molto bene, Signorina Pennetta!

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