Italy’s Flavia Pennetta became a shock grand slam champion by winning the US Open title and then revealed another surprise by announcing her retirement from tennis.
Pennetta was rated 150/1 to triumph at Flushing Meadows before the tournament began but became the oldest female in the Open era to win a first grand slam after overcoming fellow Italian Roberta Vinci 7-6 (7/4) 6-2.
Vinci’s challenge was even more of a surprise, having knocked out top seed Serena Williams in the last four on Friday, but the world number 43 failed to repeat her heroics in what was the Open era’s first all-Italian major final.
Pennetta, aged 33, flung her racket into the air after sealing victory in one hour and 33 minutes, before embracing her compatriot with an affectionate hug at the net.
The champion addressed a jubilant crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium but as the interview concluded, she asked to take the microphone for one more announcement.
“I am going to retire from tennis,” world number 26 Pennetta said.
“This is what all players want to do, go out taking a big trophy home.
“This is my last match at the US Open and I couldn’t finish in a better way.”
It was a suitably unpredictable finish to a baffling tournament that had just witnessed a final contested between two players with a combined ranking of 69, age of 65, and who had never before made a grand slam final between them.
It is only the seventh time a female player from outside the top 25 has won a major title and Pennetta’s success in her 49th grand slam is the longest a woman has ever had to wait to achieve the feat.
“I am really happy, I have to say before this tournament I never think to be so far, I never think to be champion,” Pennetta said.
“That’s why it’s amazing, this is coming as a big surprise for me. It’s a dream come true.”

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