New Delhi: The 2015 US Open somehow got a sense of anti-climax on Friday as unheralded Italian Roberta Vinci got the better of history chasing Serena Williams in the second semi-finals of the women's singles competition.
The 43rd-ranked will play her long-time friend Flavia Pennetta, who beat Romanian Simona Halep to in the first semi-final, in an all-Italian final tomorrow.
Top-ranked Serena Williams was two matches away from claiming the calendar Grand Slam but the Italian put a full stop into three-time defending champion Williams' plan in front of a seemingly partisan New York crowd.
In a grueling match at Arthur Ashe Stadium match, which was initially postponed from Thursday by rain, Vinci in three sets 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours.
Vinci, playing in her first Grand Slam semi-final, showed not only exceptional survival skills against the favourite, but also produced moments of excellence to set up the first ever all-Italian Grand Slam final in the Open Era.
On the other hand, the 33-year-old American who already holds all four major titles, was chasing the first calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988 and trying to match Graf`s Open Era career record of 22 Slam singles titles, two shy of Margaret Court`s all-time record.
Williams started as the clear favourite, with a 4-0 win-loss record against the Italian, but after winning the first set 62, failed to keep up the momentum. After losing the second set 4-6, Serena did tried to catch up with a break in response. But her quest for the Slam remained unfulfilled with too many unforced errors creeping into her game, including a series of double faults.
Only five players have completed the calendar-year sweep of the Australian, US and French Opens and Wimbledon -- Americans Don Budge in 1938 and Maureen Connolly in 1953, Australians Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 and Court in 1970 and Germany`s Graf in 1988.
Earlier, 26th-seeded Flavia Pennetta advanced to her first Grand Slam final by defeating Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3 in the first semi-final. Pennetta leads Vinci 5-4 in their all-time rivalry.
Pennetta becomes only the third Italian woman in a Slam final after Francesca Schiavone won the 2010 French Open final and lost in 2011 and Sara Errani, who lost the 2012 French Open final.
If she wins the final, in her 49th Slam appearance, Pennetta would have the most tries of any Grand Slam women`s champion, two more than France`s Marion Bartoli when she won at Wimbledon in 2013.