Serena Williams’ grand slam aspirations came to an end this Friday after a loss to Italy’s Roberta Vinci in the U.S. Open semifinals. For the moment, Steffi Graf still remains the only person to achieve a calendar-year grand slam, a feat she accomplished back in 1988.
Vinci, who was unranked at the U.S. Open, bested the No. 1 seed 2-6, 6-4 and 6-4. Before Friday’s matchup, Vinci had lost all head-to-head competitions against Williams without winning a single set.
“I don’t think I played that bad,” said Williams. “I made more unforced errors than I normally would make, but I think she just played really well. She did not want to lose today. Neither did I, incidentally. But she really didn’t, either.”
It is easy to credit the pressure as a contributing factor in her defeat; however, Williams dismissed this idea.
“I told you guys I don’t feel pressure,” she was quoted in a recent CNN article. “I never felt pressure. I never felt that pressure to win here. I said that from the beginning.”
Vinci went on to face Flavia Pennetta in the U.S. Open final on Saturday. It was the first Grand Slam final between two Italians, as well as between two women over 30. Despite her stunning semifinals win, Vinci couldn’t find the same success in her follow-up. Pennetta defeated Vinci 7-6 (4), 6-2 to capture her first ever major title in singles.
After her victory, Pennetta shocked tournament attendees by announcing her impending retirement as she concluded her on-court interview.
Pennetta noted a decrease in her competitive edge as the main reason for her retirement.
“This was the perfect moment, I think,” Pennetta said. “Was a really hard decision to make, but I’m really happy that I did it. I’m really happy and proud of myself.”