NEW YORK, Sept 13: Flavia Pennetta won her first Grand Slam singles title, defeating Italian compatriot Roberta Vinci 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in the US Open women�s final, then promptly retired.
Pennetta became, at 33, the oldest first-time Grand Slam women�s champion in the Open era with the 93-minute triumph.
�It�s a dream come true,� Pennetta said.
But only moments after accepting the trophy, she said she had decided to retire after her ultimate victory.
�This is the way I would like to say goodbye to tennis,� Pennetta said. �I�m really happy.�
The only other Italian woman to win a major singles title was Francesca Schiavone, who captured the 2010 French Open and set the former oldest first-timer age mark at 29.
�I�m really happy right now,� said Pennetta, a 150-1 longshot to win the title when the Flushing Meadows fortnight began.
�Before this tournament I never think to be so far. I never think to be a champion. When things come like this it�s a big surprise to me.�
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi was among 23,771 in Arthur Ashe Stadium watching the first all-Italian women�s Grand Slam final of the Open Era.
Pennetta took the top prize of $3.3 million (2.9 million euros), while runner-up Vinci received $1.6 million.
Pennetta previously had won only $712,401 this year while Vinci�s 2015 prize money before Sunday was $422,158.
The breakthrough win came in Pennetta�s 49th Grand Slam appearance, the most needed for any women�s major champion, two more than France�s Marion Bartoli when she won at Wimbledon in 2013. �Always when I was younger I was thinking to be number one,� Pennetta said. �I was also thinking to win Rome but I think Grand Slam may be a little better.�
Pennetta, ranked 26th, and Vinci, ranked 43rd, each played in her first Grand Slam final after pulling a semi-final shocker.
Vinci shattered the hopes of Serena Williams to achieve the first calendar Slam since 1988 with a semi-final win over the top-ranked defending champion while Pennetta dispatched Romania�s second-ranked Simona Halep.
�It was tough,� Vinci said of returning after the emotional drain of ousting Williams.
�I passed the 24 hours with a lot of things on my mind. I was really tired especially in the first set, but I was in the US Open final so I was really happy.� � AFP