Vinci upsets Serena Williams in 3 sets, goes on to face Pennetta in U.S. Open final

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Serena Williams of the United States returns a shot to Roberta Vinci of Italy during their Women's Singles Semifinals match on Day Twelve of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Friday in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Unseeded Roberta Vinci pushed Serena Williams to a third set in the U.S. Open semifinals and will go on to face Flavia Pennetta of Italy.

With Williams two victories from completing the first Grand Slam since 1988, Vinci won a set off the 21-time major champion for the first time in five meetings.

Vinci, in her first Grand Slam semifinal, took the second set 6-4, saving a break point in the final game, after Williams won the first 6-2 on Friday.

Williams has won in three sets 11 times at the majors this year.

Pennetta reached her first Grand Slam final at age 33.

The Italian routed second-seeded Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3 at the U.S. Open on Friday. While Pennetta looked calm and moved freely, Halep, a decade her junior, seemed tense and drained.

The Romanian, who made last year’s French Open final, had 23 unforced errors to 10 winners.

Pennetta trailed 3-1 in the second set before winning 15 straight points to move within a game of victory. She broke Halep’s serve to clinch the win, burying her face in her hands in stunned joy after hitting her 23rd winner on match point.

The 26th-seeeded Pennetta faces in Saturday’s final.