Fabulous Flavia Pennetta floors helpless Simona Halep; reaches US Open final

Italian 26th seed shocks sloppy No 2 Romanian with dominant 6-1, 6-3 win in less than an hour to enter US Open final

New York: World No 26 Flavia Pennetta shocked second seed Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3 to reach the US Open final yesterday.

Halep had been strong favourite to beat her 33-year-old opponent, but the Romanian never found her rhythm at the Arthur Ashe Stadium and Pennetta strolled through to her first ever major final. “It means everything. It’s amazing. It’s not something I ever thought to come so far here today,” Pennetta said.

World No 26 Flavia Pennetta of Italy is ecstatic after beating No 2 Simona Halep of Romania in the US Open women’s singles semi-finals in New York yesterday. Pic/AFP 

“I think I played really well. I didn’t know how to handle all her pressure I felt. It's amazing, to be here, on this court, with a crowd like this. “I’ve just tried to play every match the best I can, not think too much about the draw, be focused and here I am so I’m really happy.”

Pennetta will be fresh for Saturday’s final after spending just 59 minutes on court and, on this evidence, could cause problems with her excellent backhand and strength from the baseline. Halep was sloppy throughout, unable to choose between attacking her opponent and dictating the rallies, or rely on her more natural game of consistent hitting and defence.

In the end, she did neither, registering only 10 winners to Pennetta’s 23 during the match and 23 unforced errors to her opponent’s 16.

As her frustration mounted, Pennetta’s confidence grew as she broke twice in the opening set to win five games in a row and seal the frame. Halep showed glimpses of a fight at the start of the second, moving 3-1 clear after an early break, but errors crept into the world number two’s game again and she crumbled thereafter.

Pennetta strung together 15 points in a row to take a 5-3 lead and, with Halep now all but resigned to defeat, the Italian cruised to victory, becoming the third Italian to make a major final in the Open era.

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