NEW YORK, NY, USA - She'd never been to the semifinals of a major before, she'd never taken a set off Serena Williams, almost no one was giving her a chance - but she never stopped believing. Roberta Vinci defied all the odds at the US Open on Friday afternoon, pulling off an absolute shocker over the World No.1 to snap her 33-match Grand Slam winning streak and reach her own first major final.
Early on it looked like another routine match for the No.1-seeded Williams - she raced through the first set in just 31 minutes, 6-2, ripping twice as many winners to unforced errors for the set, 16 to 8.
But the No.43-ranked, unseeded Vinci never stopped fighting, clawing her way back to take the second set, 6-4, and, after falling behind 2-0 in the third set, clawing back to win the decider as well.
After exactly two hours on the court Vinci had the 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 stunner in her pocket.
"It's like a dream - I'm in the final, I beat Serena - sorry guys, sorry!" she told the New York crowd.
"For me it's an amazing moment. It's incredible. I have so many things in my mind right now! It was an incredible match. I lost the first set, but I still tried to stay aggressive. In the end I was serving and it felt impossible, but I tried to stay focused and not think about the match or Serena's incredible play.
"It's the best moment of my life."
Williams' numbers were strong - she finished with a positive differential of winners to unforced errors, 50 to 40. And while Vinci was slightly negative on the match, 19 to 20, she was better when it counted.
"I don't think I played that badly," Williams said in her post-match press conference.
"I made more unforced errors than I normally would make, but I think she just played really well," she added. "She did not want to lose today. Neither did I, incidentally - but she really didn't either."
"I felt very happy to get that win at Wimbledon, you know," the World No.1 said. "I did win three Grand Slams this year - I won four in a row, which is pretty good. So it's definitely the positive."
Vinci was asked about Williams in her presser - and she's still in awe of the World No.1.
"She's the No.1. Doesn't matter if she lost to me, for me, she's the very best right now," she said.
"She's an incredible player, she won a lot of tournaments, Grand Slams, and for me, she's the No.1."