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Flavia Pennetta reaches U.S. Open with upset of No. 2 Simona Halep

Flavia Pennetta, of Italy, reacts after winning a

Flavia Pennetta, of Italy, reacts after winning a point against Simona Halep, of Romania, during a semifinal match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in New York. Credit: AP

In the biggest surprise of this U.S. Open, 33-year-old Italian Flavia Pennetta is through to Saturday's final after upsetting the No. 2 seed, Simona Halep on Friday.

Pennetta, who has never been to a Grand Slam final, won with shocking ease on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 6-1, 6-3. The match took only 59 minutes.

Pennetta, the 26th seed, didn't have high expectations entering the Open and had not won a tournament this year. She has 10 career titles, but seemed to be on the downward arc of her career.

"I tried not to think about things, think about the draw," said Pennetta. "I just play match by match."

In a Grand Slam career that began in 2003, Pennetta's best results have come at the Open where she has reached the quarterfinals four times, the semifinals twice and on to her first final.

The combative Halep seemed out of sorts and committed error after error in the first set. In the second set, Halep's serve was broken to start, but she earned it right back and then broke Pennetta again in the fourth game. Momentum seemed to be on her side.

But from 15-15 on Halep's serve in the fifth game she lost 15 straight points and was broken three straight times as Pennetta dominated at the end.

Pennetta faces Serena Williams or Roberta Vinci in Saturday's final.

New York Sports