• US Open

Italy's women dominate at Flushing Meadows

ESPN staff
September 2, 2013
Daniela Hantuchova celebrates after beating Alison Riske © AP

It was Italy's day in the women's draw at the US Open with fourth-round wins for Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta at Flushing Meadows. The pair will now meet in the quarter-finals. Vinci, the 10th seed, will be taking on a countrywoman for the third straight round at this year's tournament.

"We try to motivate everyone," Pennetta said. "It's really nice because always we make a good result, almost always."

On a day when experience trumped youth, three 30-something women beat opponents in their early 20s. Vinci defeated Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2 in 67 minutes. Moments later, rain started pouring down, stopping all matches at Flushing Meadows for 4½ hours.

The delay couldn't have come at a better time for Pennetta, who returned to the court to seize momentum and clinch a 6-2, 7-6 (3) victory over 21st-seeded Simona Halep. Halep had set point on her serve, trying to send the match to the third, when the skies opened up to her dismay. Once they resumed play, Pennetta pounced on a second serve to set up a big forehand that erased the set point. "After that I was very nervous and I lost the game … very fast," Halep said.

American wild card Alison Riske forced a third set against Daniela Hantuchova, but the Slovakian veteran pulled away for a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 victory.

Riske didn't earn a break point until the 17th game, but she took advantage to even the second set at 4-4. The rain came a point later, but it didn't cost Riske any momentum. She held at love after they resumed, then broke Hantuchova's serve at love at 6-5 to even the match. But in the third set, the 30-year-old Hantuchova was in total control.

"I totally lost all focus and missed plenty of balls that I should make with my eyes closed," said Riske. "I've never been in a moment like this before. She is a seasoned player. She played ball today. I did all that I could for this moment, and that's all I could do."

She will face Victoria Azarenka or 13th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, whose match was postponed until Tuesday morning because of the rain.

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