Flavia Pennetta defeated compatriot Roberta Vinci 7-6(7-4) 6-2 to clinch the US Open on Saturday.
Moments after winning her first ever Grand Slam final, in a first-ever all-Italian singles showdown and the first to be contested by two women in ages +30 in the Open era, the 33-year-old announced her retirement.
“Before I started this tournament, one month ago, I made a big decision in my life. And this is why I would like to say goodbye to tennis,” she announced in front of the Arthur Ashe crowd.
“I’m really happy. It’s what all players want to do, go home with one of these big trophies. So this one was my last match at the US Open and I couldn’t think to finish a better way. I want to thank everyone who supported me during my career. All my coaches, my family, who aren’t here, but they’re going to be proud of me. I love you guys.”
Twelve years after their first meeting in the opening round of a $50,000 Challenger event on carpet in Ortisei, Italy, the stage was set for them to take a shot at a more reasonable prize money in the fourth Grand Slam of the year; thanks to unseeded Vinci’s unthinkable upset of world number one, Serena Williams, a day before.
The match started in a rather cautious manner, with the two trading holds and breaks and the first set culminated with a tie-break, in which Pennetta exerted herself to claim initiative.
She claimed a commanding two-break lead in the second set and then held for victory in just over one hour; 30 minutes.
“It’s amazing to have the chance to play with one of your friends,” said Pennetta. “Before the match, we said it doesn’t matter … it’s going to be a really big win for both of us. I didn’t think to be here. She didn’t think to be here today, either. So it’s amazing for our country. It’s amazing for everyone.”