Flavia Pennetta, of Italy, reacts after beating Petra Kvitova, of the Czech Republic, during a quarterfinal match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig
September 09, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) Flavia Pennetta loves visiting New York for a week or two every year.

Once again, she's sticking around as long as she can.

The 26th-seeded Italian rallied from down a set and a break against two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova on Wednesday to reach her second U.S. Open semifinal in three years.

''In the second set, I was really in trouble,'' Pennetta said in an on-court interview. ''I just keep going, playing, playing. It's unbelievable.''

In 38 career appearances at the other three majors, Pennetta has reached the quarters just once. She's done it six times in seven years at Flushing Meadows, including her only two trips to a Grand Slam semifinal.

The win by the 33-year-old Pennetta means that three of the women's semifinalists at a major will be at least 32 for the first time in the Open era. She joins another 33-year-old, Serena Williams, and fellow Italian Roberta Vinci, 32.

It's also the first time in the Open era, which started in 1968, that two Italian women have reached the same Grand Slam semifinal.

Pennetta beat the fifth-seeded Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 on a steamy afternoon. Kvitova, who has battled mononucleosis this summer that has limited her practice time, was struggling physically by the end of the 2-hour, 23-minute match.

''Just from the beginning of the match I didn't really feel 100 percent ready today,'' Kvitova said.

The U.S. Open has been the least successful major for the Czech lefty. Because of the illness, she wasn't expecting this would be the year she advanced past the fourth round for the first time.

''It wasn't really (an) easy situation,'' she said. ''I'm kind of proud of myself how I played here.''

She led 3-1 in the second set Wednesday but couldn't close out the match, committing 60 unforced errors.

Pennetta will next meet a 20-something: Simona Halep or Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka beat Pennetta in the 2013 U.S. Open semis.

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