Flavia Pennetta cruised to a 6-1 6-3 win over Simona Halep to become the first Italian to reach the US Open final in the Open Era.
The Italian No. 2 posted a solid 23 to 16 winners to unforced errors differentials against Halep’s 10 to 23 to finish off a 6-1 6-3 win in just 59 minutes.
“I didn’t think to be so far in the tournament,” Pennetta siad in her on-court interview. “It’s amazing to be here today. I don’t know how to handle all the pressure I have, but I think I played really well.”
The 33-year-old will face either countrywoman Roberta Vinci or six-time winner Serena Williams in Saturday’s final.
Pennetta seized control of the match early on, on Arthur Ashe, converting just her second break point opportunity to move 3-1 up and then held serves to take a one-set-to-love lead in just 28 minutes.
Halep, who made good use of weather delay during her quarter-final win over 20th seed Victoria Azarenka, double faulted twice in the opening game of the second set to concede her third break of the match, but the Romanian swiftly broke back to love, held, and closed in to within a break of her opponent by surging clear, 3-1.
However, Pennetta refused to yield to the 23-year-old’s plot for a revival, losing just three out of remaining 23 points – twice breaking the 2014 Wimbledon semi-finalist – to advance into her first Grand Slam final.
Seeded 26th in Flushing Meadows this year, Pennetta is the lowest seed, since her potential opponent in the final Williams (in 2011), to advance into the championship match of the women’s singles tournament.