Italy's Flavia Pennetta quits tennis after beating Vinci 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 for her maiden grand slam title
New York: US Open champion Flavia Pennetta believes lifting a first grand slam title next to her childhood friend was the perfect way to end her career.
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Italy's Flavia Pennetta is over the moon as she poses with the US Open trophy on Saturday. Pic:AP/PTI
Pennetta beat fellow Italian and long-time companion Roberta Vinci 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 and then used her victory speech to announce her retirement in front of a shocked crowd.
The World No 26 will still play on until the end of the season but this was her last outing at Flushing Meadows and her final match at a grand slam.
Pennetta had been rated 150/1 to win before the fortnight began and at 33, she becomes the oldest female in the Open era to win a major tournament for the first time.
The surprise victory is worth 3,300,000 US dollars and Pennetta is projected to rise to eighth in the world rankings, but the veteran Italian was in no doubt about her decision to call it a day.
"Sometimes we are more scared to take the decision because we don't know what we're going to do after but I think it's going to be a pretty good life," Pennetta said.
"I'm really proud of myself. I think I did everything that I expect. More. Much more.
"You start when you are really young and you make a lot of decisions, hard decisions, you lose so many things when you're young.
"With this, winning today, my life is perfect. I cannot say anything different. Perfect."
It was the Open era's first all-Italian grand slam final and there was a distinctly Mediterranean feel to the contest as the players walked out to Francesco Sartori's 'Time to Say Goodbye' blaring out around the arena.
Vinci and Pennetta first played together when they were nine years old in Brindisi, Pennetta's home town, and as teenagers the pair moved to Rome where they enrolled with the Italian tennis federation's talent programme and lived together as roommates for four years.
After her historic victory, Pennetta whispered to Vinci her decision to retire as they sat next to each other on court, waiting for the presentation to begin.