US Open: Flavia Pennetta crushes Simona Halep to reach final

A mesmerising display from Flavia Pennetta saw her become the first Italian woman to reach a US Open final, ousting Romania’s Simona Halep 6-1 6-3 on Arthur Ashe.

Pennetta’s offensive strategy paid dividends as she cracked a string of winners past her wilting opponent to win in 59 minutes.

Halep threatened a second set revival, securing an early break, but Pennetta quelled the threat by winning five games on the bounce to twist a 3-1 deficit into a match-winning position – sealing victory with a thumping forehand into the corner.

“I’m really, really happy,” Pennetta told Eurosport. “It’s amazing to be here. I played well from the beginning of the match, so I just tried to stay positive. There are no words to say how happy I am.

“I was pushing a lot today. I did not miss a lot. It was not easy to keep calm.”

The 33-year-old will face compatriot Roberta Vinci in the final. Vinci stunned Serena Williams in her semi-final, meaning the victor of Saturday’s showdown will joinFrancesca Schiavone – French Open 2010 champion – as the only Italian women to win a Grand Slam.

A forecast of heavy rain in New York saw the women’s semi-finals pushed from Thursday to Friday.