Serena Williams in all of her splendor suffered a huge loss to opponent Roberta Vinci. In a very close competitive match, Williams was not able to pull off the match and sit Vinci down to add a US Open win to her long list of wins and accolades on her way to the Grand Slam
EarHustle411 and the writing staff is proud of Serena Williams just the same, however we do congratulate Roberta Vinci on her win as well. Good Luck in the finals!!
Read more about the US Open as reported by the New York Times:
The Grand Slam seemed there for the taking. The Grand Slam will have to wait.
Two victories from joining the most prestigious club in tennis and with her path clear of all the most evident thorns and threats, Serena Williams ran into an unlikely roadblock in the form of Roberta Vinci.
In one of the biggest surprises in tennis history, Vinci, an unseeded Italian veteran playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal, defeated Williams, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, at the United States Open on Friday.
“The best moment of my life,” said Vinci, who embraced the occasion thoroughly, cupping her hand to her ear and exhorting the crowd after winning a spectacular rally, and crying in her chair after the upset.
Vinci, who had never won a set against Williams in four previous matches, also apologized.
“For the American people, for Serena, for the Grand Slam and everything,” she said. “But today is my day. Sorry, guys.”
Instead of the 33-year-old Williams playing for the Grand Slam in the final on Saturday, it will be 33-year-old Flavia Pennetta facing Vinci, 32, in an all-Italian match that will also feature the oldest players in a women’s major final — in terms of combined age — in the Open era.
Pennetta, the No. 26 seed, overwhelmed Simona Halep, the No. 2 seed, in the day’s first semifinal, 6-1, 6-3. That upset put Pennetta into her first Grand Slam singles final, but it was just a ripple in the Open fishbowl compared with the cannonball that Vinci stylishly landed later in the afternoon.
“I think this is the biggest upset we’ve ever seen in women’s tennis,” said Rennae Stubbs, the analyst and former Australian doubles star who knows Williams well.
Williams has certainly been stunned before, losing in the first round of the 2012 French Open to the French wild card Virginie Razzano.
But Friday’s upset came late in the tournament, when Williams — who has won 21 Grand Slam singles titles — typically has unstoppable momentum. Friday’s upset also came with a wider global audience paying attention, drawn in by her quest.
“She lost to the Grand Slam more than anything else,” said Martina Navratilova, who knows the pursuit well. “But still, Vinci had to finish it off.”
The last player to complete the Grand Slam, winning all four major singles titles in the same calendar year, was Steffi Graf in 1988. Williams had put herself within exceptionally close range by making great escape after great escape this year, winning the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon and her first five matches at Flushing Meadows.
Along the way, she had won all 11 of her three-set matches in the majors, shrugging and snarling off illness, edginess and all manner of challengers, from longtime rivals like Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open as well as unexpected threats like Heather Watson at Wimbledon.
But chasing the Grand Slam is one of the great burdens in sports. Graf said she felt much more relief than joy when she completed it in New York at age 19 and was exhausted emotionally in the aftermath. Williams, at 33, was fully aware of how precious a late-career opportunity this was.
Perhaps too aware. Not that Williams was prepared to concede that point.
“No; I told you guys I don’t feel pressure,” Williams said afterward. “I never felt pressure.”
In a news conference long on short answers, Williams rebuffed attempts to plumb the depths of her disappointment. “I don’t want to talk about how disappointing it is for me,” she said. “If you have any other questions, I’m open for that.”
She was most expansive about Vinci. “She’s going for it at a late stage,” Williams said. “So that’s good for her to keep going for it and playing so well. Actually, I guess it’s inspiring. But, yeah, I think she played literally out of her mind.”
From start to finish, Vinci seemed a great deal saner than that. A clever tactician, her shifts of rhythm and crisply sliced one-handed backhand made it difficult at times for Williams to generate her trademark pace and depth. Players with similar tools — Justine Henin and Emilie Loit — have caused Williams trouble in the past.
“You have to create the pace on it,” said the former Open champion Tracy Austin of the low-bouncing slice. “If you’re tight, that’s a difficult recipe.”
But Vinci had never won more than four games in a set against Williams in their previous matches and has struggled for much of the season, falling from a career-high ranking of 11 to 43. In Toronto last month, Williams defeated her, 6-4, 6-3, in the quarterfinals.
It was thus hard to avoid the conclusion that the essential duel on Friday was Williams against herself.
“I think she lost her way, mentally,” said her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. “Tactically, she didn’t know what to do at a certain point. When you do the wrong choices, you lose the points that you’re used to winning, and then you don’t understand what’s happening, and then you make more and more wrong choices.”
Though there were moments of brilliance — including 16 aces and numerous overpowering return winners — the weight of it all ultimately proved too much.
Only three women have won a calendar-year Grand Slam: Maureen Connolly in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970 and Graf. The only men to complete the Grand Slam are Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver, on two occasions: 1962 and 1969.
Williams joins the short list of those tennis luminaries who faltered on the final leg: Jack Crawford in 1933, Lew Hoad in 1956 and Navratilova in 1984.
Williams did win more points than Vinci on Friday: 93 to 85. But she did not secure those that mattered most in the third set, which had been her happy hunting ground all year — and not just in Grand Slam tournaments. Coming into the Open, her overall record in three-set matches this season was 18-1.
Source: New York Times