Pennetta stuns Halep in New York

Rafael Nadal – Roland Garros Player Profile

Italy's Flavia Pennetta claimed the biggest win of her career at the US Open on Friday, beating second seed Simona Halep in straight sets to reach her first Grand Slam final.

The 26th seed claimed a suprisingly dominant 6-1 6-3 victory over her much higher-ranked Romanian opponent, wrapping up the victory in just 61 minutes.

"I just tried to play every match the best I could from the first one here," said Pennetta.

"I was trying not to think too much about the draw and everything else and just focus on what I had to do when I got on the court, match by match. And here I am in the final – I'm really, really happy."

Halep earned the first break point of the match in the third game, but Pennetta saved it before earning two break points of her own in the next game, snatching the second to go 3-1 up.

She then held serve confidently before claiming another break in a hard-fought sixth game to go 5-1 up, holding serve in the following game to take the first set in just 29 minutes.

Pennetta then claimed her third break of the match in the first game of the second set, though Halep looked set for a comeback after winning the next three games, breaking serve twice.

But Pennetta hit back in style, winning five successive games and breaking serve three times as Halep capitulated and crashed out at Flushing Meadows.

Awaiting the Italian in the final is the winner of the match between top seed Serena Williams and Roberta Vinci.

At age 33, Pennetta is the oldest first-time Grand Slam finalist in the Open Era.