Flavia Pennetta - world no. 26 (highest no. 10), 33 years old, from Italy, second Grand Slam semifinal (both at the US Open)
Simona Halep - world no. 2 (highest no. 2), 23 years old, from Romania, third Grand Slam semifinal (first at the US Open)
Pre match quotes:
Penneta: "I just play every match one by one and try to enjoy going to the court every time. We played each other a few times. It's always a great fight, last time in Miami it was very tough for me. I must play the best way I can."
Halep: "I did the same routine yesterday, practicing, getting ready today. It was a good match in Miami and I expect a tough match. I must be focused and to play my game."
Head to Head: 3-1 for Pennetta (1-1 on hardcourts); Last match won by Halep in Miami this year; Pennetta defeated Halep in the Last 16 in 2013 here at the US Open.
Halep won the toss and chose to receive. Players getting ready to start. Pennetta will serve first.
Pennetta v Halep 1-0* (* indicates who will serve next) - Some pretty long rallies in the very beginning allow Pennetta to go 30-15 up. She does brilliantly to end the game holding to 15 with a drop shot followed by a great winner.
Pennetta v Halep *1-1 - Halep holds to love thanks to some good serves and tries to control the points early on. She manages to do just that.
Pennetta v Halep 2-1* - The Italian grabs the first ace of the match at 0-15, but then double faults to grant Halep a chance back in the game at 30-30. A Halep forehand then goes marginally wide before Pennetta nets and the game goes to deuce. Halep has a break point opportunity but after a long hard-thought point throws a backhand wide. Pennetta challenges successfully and serves out wide to finally hold. Tough game for her, but a good one in the end.
Pennetta v Halep *3-1 - Halep constructs a great point before Pennetta strikes back with great anticipation, and helped by two Halep unforced errors, gets two break point opportunities. Can't pull the trigger, netting what looked like an easy shot for a 3-1 lead, but Halep gifts her the opening break of the match after another long rally.
Pennetta v Halep 4-1* - Halep wins the opening point yet again, but can't handle three straight first serves from Pennetta, who thus consolidates her break and gets closer to winning the first set.
Pennetta v Halep *5-1 - Some more unforced errors are costing Halep, who double faults at 15-30 to bring another two break points to the Italian. First serve is also letting the Romanian down, but she does well to save the first one after defending to the teeth and making Pennetta play one extra shot, which she nets. Then she forces a Pennetta error to save the second one. She shows she can be aggressive too, and another two mistakes by Halep mean Pennetta will serve for the set next.
Pennetta v Halep 6-1* - Halep's turn to be aggressive. A winner and an unforced error directly from the return make it 15-15. Halep then nets another two returns and something clearly is wrong with her ground strokes. Two set points then. First one is saved with another aggressive display, but a great backhand winner seals the deal. Halep has some work and some thinking to do. She leaves for a toilet break.
Pennetta v Halep 6-1, *1-0 - Halep finds the net again in the opening point of the set and sets Pennetta up for a simple winner on the second. A wild backhand hands Pennetta two more break points and she makes use of the first one with a strong return that forces Halep to net. Well, well... What can Halep do here?
Pennetta v Halep 6-1, 1-1* - The Italian seems to be simply hitting the ball cleaner and better, but a couple of mistakes - including a simple volley gone wrong - grant Halep three break points. She takes the first one after hitting two great shots close to the line. Is this the moment for a turnaround?
Pennetta v Halep 6-1, *1-2 - Halep looks motivated after that break and clenches her fist after two hard earned points give her a 30-15 advantage. Another semi-winner sets up game point and a trademark backhand down the line wins her the game. Game on!
Pennetta v Halep 6-1, 1-3* - Some classic "Si-mo-na!'s" cand be heard from the stands and Pennetta must be feeling the heat now. Two good points bring her from 0-15 down to 30-15 before a net cord comes to the Romanian's help. Pennetta earns a game point, comes to the net and gets Halep'd down the line. A backhand error brings up break point and Halep suddenly turns the tables. She leads, 3-1.
Pennetta v Halep 6-1, *2-3 - Much better from Halep, then. No more needless nets and some well crafted points, but Pennetta is still there, chasing a drop shot to get in front, 15-30. Halep throws away two points - the second a double fault - and we are back on serve.
Pennetta v Halep 6-1, 3-3* - Pennetta's aggressiveness comes into play again and Halep hits a wild forehand and nets a return to bring the score to 40-0. That was quick! Pennetta ends the game coming to the net off a great cross-court backhand. Very important game coming up for Halep.
Pennetta v Halep 6-1, *4-3 - Huge opening point won by Pennetta after defending Halep attack after Halep attack. The Italian suddenly has three break points after a very clever counter-drop shot and a Halep error. She takes the first opportunity with a smashing forehand return. Halep in big trouble. Eight straight points won by Pennetta now.
Pennetta v Halep 6-1, 5-3* - Great offensive tennis from Pennetta, opening up the court and finishing the first two points in style. She does the same with the third one, brilliantly switching from defence to attack, and Halep goes long on the next point. Halep will serve to stay in the tournament.
Pennetta v Halep 6-1, 6-3 - First point in a looong while won by Halep, but Pennetta strikes back with yet another winner to make it 15-15. A double fault doesn't help her cause and a fabulous backhand winner gives Pennetta two chances for a ticket to the US Open final. Halep does extremely well to time a very risky forehand winner down the line on the first one, but Pennetta finishes the match in style with another forehand winner. Looked like training, this one. Pennetta can't believe it. She will play the US Open final.
Pennetta books her place in the final
Pennetta on-court interview: "It means everything to me. It's amazing, amazing to be here. I think I played really well. I don't know how to handle the pressure I feel now."
"I try not to think about the draw and only to focus on each match, and here I am."
"I'd advice [other Italian semifinalist] Vinci to just enjoy and give everything and then the result will come."