With a historic calendar grand slam attempt shattered before the weekend, a US Open women’s final missing much of its anticipated marquee magic faces the threat of thunderstorms.
Italy’s Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta are set for a Saturday afternoon trophy showdown at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the US Open’s final weekend of matches before a retractable roof is ready for the 2016 tournament.
“One Italian will win for sure,” Vinci said. “It’s an incredible moment.”
Vinci defeated top-ranked defending champion Serena Williams 2-6 6-4 6-4, while Pennetta ousted Romanian world No.2 Simona Halep 6-1 6-3.
Williams, who holds all four major titles until the women’s final is played, was bidding for the first calendar grand slam since Steffi Graf in 1988 and a 22nd slam singles crown to match Graf’s Open Era record.
But all that vanished when Vinci pulled off one of the great stunners in tennis history.
“I don’t want to talk about how disappointing it is for me,” Williams said.
There is a dreary weekend forecast of a 65 per cent chance of thundershowers on Saturday and a 75 per cent likelihood for the same on Sunday for the men’s final between top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No.2 Roger Federer.
Rain had forced the men’s final to be delayed until Monday from 2008 through 2012, pushing the US Open to construct the new roof, the superstructure framework for which stands around Ashe stadium this year.
In addition to the first all-Italian women’s grand slam singles final, the men’s doubles final is also on Saturday’s jeopardised schedule.
That features Britain’s Jamie Murray and Australian John Peers against French duo Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Pennetta, 33, and Vinci, 32, are each in their first grand slam final, seeking the top prize of $US3.3 million ($A4.65 million), with the runner-up taking home $US1.6 million ($A2.25 million).
Head to head, Pennetta leads Vinci 5-4, winning their most recent meeting in the 2013 US Open quarter-finals.
If she hoists the trophy in her 49th slam appearance, Pennetta will have racked up the most attempts of any grand slam women’s champion, two more than France’s Marion Bartoli when she won at Wimbledon in 2013.
“It’s going to be amazing for me to win this tournament,” she said. “This is going to be a chance to do something amazing.”
The only Italian woman to win a grand slam singles title was Francesca Schiavone at the 2010 French Open. The only other woman to reach a slam final was Sara Errani, who lost the 2012 Roland Garros final.