32-year-old Italian Roberta Vinci is Serena Williams’ unlikely US Open semifinal opponent. Vinci wasn’t even seeded to start the Open, but has played extremely well, exceeding all expectations. Vinci did the same just last month in a 6-4, 6-3 Toronto loss to Williams, who admittedly wasn’t expecting to play such close sets against Vinci. She “played me tough,” said Williams, who has beaten Vinci in all four of their matches so far.
But Vinci, while a massive underdog, is no stranger to Grand Slam success. The 5’4″ Italian is a doubles expert, having won (with former partner Sara Errani) FIVE Grand Slam titles in doubles — including all four major events to complete the career Grand Slam (winning the Australian Open twice). Vinci has also won nine singles titles, but the 2015 US Open semifinal is as far as she’s gone in a Grand Slam. One of Vinci’s doubles slam titles came in Australia in 2013; on the way to the crown Vinci and Errani beat the Williams sisters.