Henin takes on Kuznetsova for title

Justine Henin outlasted Venus Williams three days after knocking out sister Serena, winning Friday's semifinal 7-6 (2) 6-4.

updated: September 09, 2007 13:18 IST
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New York:

She finished off the Sister Slam. Now, Justine Henin will try to finalize another Grand Slam title.

Henin outlasted Venus Williams three days after knocking out sister Serena, winning Friday's semifinal 7-6 (2) 6-4.

Martina Hingis was the only other player to beat the siblings in the same Grand Slam tournament, at the 2001 Australian Open.

Packing a powerful serve, wicked backhands and daring rushes to the net, Henin has not lost a set through six matches.

Earlier this week, many tennis fans believed there would be a Williams in the final. Henin ended that, all by herself.

"I really believed I could do it, and that's maybe why I did," she said. "I don't think a lot of people thought I could beat her here in this tournament. I was really proud. It's not easy to play Serena and Venus, you know."

"Didn't trust myself enough in the last few years against them," she said. "And then this year a lot of things have changed. I trust myself much more."

On Saturday night, Henin will try for her seventh Grand Slam title when she takes on No 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova in a matchup of former champs.

Henin has a 14-2 career record against Kuznetsova, who advanced by defeating No 6 Anna Chakvetadze 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Henin had some trouble breathing during the second set. She later said she'd been ailing for a few days.

The Williams sisters also claimed illness. Their mother and coach Oracene Price said Venus learned she has anemia after winning Wimbledon in July. She's been taking medicine for the condition and Price said her older daughter felt "like the ground was moving" during some matches at Flushing Meadows.

"I just was feeling dizzy, a little sick to the stomach. Was just having some energy problems. I'm not really sure what's wrong with me," Venus said. "But, you know, credit to her for playing well."

Price said Serena was hobbled by pain in her knee and left the city Thursday. Asked the last time the sisters were healthy, their mom said, "I guess when they first started."

After losing to Henin, Serena talked about her opponent's "lucky shots." Venus was more gracious, though no less disappointed.

Told that Venus had mentioned health problems, Henin sounded sarcastic when she said, "I'm surprised."

"I could say I wasn't 100 per cent, but I was fighting on every point. She probably did the same," she said. "It was just a good match. No complaint about that."

The diminutive Belgian consistently found ways to angle winning shots. She also placed a perfect lob over Williams in the second set, leaving Venus hanging her head.

Later, Williams asked a trainer to check her pulse and temperature. She followed up with some serves barely more than 70 mph while getting broken to fall behind 5-3.

Williams said had some "sports jelly beans" and sports drink to boost her, to no avail.

Kuznetsova recovered from a poor first set to win the final two in a breeze. Chakvetadze claimed trouble with the wind at Arthur Ashe Stadium all match. She also had a tough time keeping her composure as her big chance slipped away.

By the time Kuznetsova was serving for the match, Chakvetadze's eyes were red and she was wiping away tears.

"I just played horrible," she said. "Just couldn't put the ball in the court."