Flavia Pannetta Wins U.S. Open, Immediately Retires

Mike Segar / Reuters
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

I was still reeling over Serena Williams’ surprise loss in the U.S. Open semifinals when a new queen was crowned on Saturday. Flavia Pannetta beat fellow Italian Roberta Vinci in straight sets to win the annual Grand Slam tournament in Queens.

The two women battled to a first-set tiebreak, which Pannetta won before cruising through an easy second set to clinch the win. Neither player had previously made it to a major final. The Williams-less finish to the U.S. Open became even more surreal when Pannetta announced just moments after her win that she is retiring from the game:

One month ago, I made a big decision in my life; and this is the way I would like to say goodbye tennis. This was my last match and I couldn’t think to finish a better way.

At 33, Pannetta is the oldest female player to win a major tournament in the open era. Not a bad way to go out.