Henin, Kuznetsova in final

New York, September 8:

Venus Williams left the US Open the same way Serena Williams did, undone by all those big shots off the racket of little Justine Henin.

In a riveting match filled with superb all-court play, Henin became only the second woman to beat both Williams sisters at the same Grand Slam tournament, reaching the final at Flushing Meadows with a 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory over Venus on Friday. Henin eliminated Serena in the quarter-finals.

The only other player who defeated both Williams siblings at a single major tournament was Martina Hingis at the 2001 Australian Open, where she also got past Serena in the quarter-finals and Venus in the semi-finals. Hingis then lost to Jennifer Capriati in the final.

The World No 1 Henin will face No 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova in a title match featuring two past Open champions.

Kuznetsova got off to a horrible start in her all-Russian semi-final against No 6 Anna Chakvetadze. How horrible? Chakvetadze won the first set. And then, slowly but surely, 2004 champion Kuznetsova began keeping the ball between the lines, and Chakvetadze began missing shots short, long and wide. In full control late, Kuznetsova defeated Chakvetadze 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Later on, though, it was Chakvetadze who was struggling to keep her composure, wiping away tears while waiting to return serves in the final game. It was Chakvetadze’s first career Grand Slam semi-final, and she sure played like it in the last two sets as she struggled with the shifting winds.