All-Pugliese women’s final at U.S. Open

In what The New York Times called “one of the biggest surprises in tennis history,” the unseeded Roberta Vinci, playing in her first Grand Slam semi-final, defeated No. 1-ranked Serena Williams, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, at the U.S. Open on Friday, setting up an all-Pugliese final match on Saturday.

Vinci, born in Taranto and now residing in Sicily, will face Flavia Pennetta, who was born and still lives in Brindisi, for the championship in New York City.

Pennetta, the No. 26 seed, reached the finals by upsetting the No. 2 seed, Simona Halep, in Friday’s first semi-final, 6-1, 6-3.

In the first comment he has posted on Facebook, according to La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, the new president of the Region of Puglia, Michele Emiliano, declared, “I just want to shout for joy, pride, happiness, for these two extraordinary athletes from Puglia, Italy, that are the symbol of the good people of Puglia who never give up and that through the sacrifice can achieve any result. Flavia and Roberta are an example for all of us!”

The Times also notes that the match is noteworthy in that it will feature the oldest players, in terms of combined ages, in a women’s major final. Pennetta is 33 and Vinci is 32.

ANSA, the Italian news service, noted that “Pennetta was the first Italian woman to reach the top 10, in August 2009, but neither she nor Vinci had previously reached the final of a grand slam.”

Read all about the history-making tournament here, here and here.

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