Henin beats Venus to reach US Open final
Top-seeded Justine Henin of Belgium battled past twice-champion Venus Williams 7-6 6-4 on Friday to line up a US Open final against Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.sports Updated: Sep 08, 2007 04:28 IST
Top-seeded Justine Henin of Belgium battled past twice-champion Venus Williams 7-6 6-4 on Friday to line up a US Open final against Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.
French Open champion Henin, the 2003 US Open winner, captured the first-set tiebreaker 7-2 and broke the 12th-seeded Williams in the 10th game of the second set to claim victory.
Fourth-seeded Kuznetsova, who won the Open in 2004, overcame an early bout of nerves to beat compatriot Anna Chakvetadze 3-6 6-1 6-1 in her semifinal on a hot, humid day at Flushing Meadows.
Henin and Williams met for the first time in more than four years, since Williams prevailed in the semi-finals of the 2003 Australian Open.
The nearly two-hour match, marked by rousing rallies and spiced with numerous volley exchanges at the net, was Henin's second against seven losses to Williams, the 2000 and 2001 US winner.
In contrast to the high-quality of the Henin-Williams match, Kuznetsova prevailed in an error-filled contest.
Kuznetsova lost her serve four times and had 21 errors in a sloppy opening set but won 12 of the last 13 games to close out the 96-minute match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I was so nervous in the first set," said fourth seed Kuznetsova. "I knew it was my opportunity. I was so stuck there. I was just not doing anything at all.
"Every ball I hit, I hit it with the frame, the handle, somewhere out. Forehand. Didn't serve well. This was it.
"I guess when you put the ball in court, you win. When you hit it out, you lose. This is basically it."
The sixth-seeded Chakvetadze, who committed 37 of her 46 unforced errors in the final two sets, was at a loss to explain her erratic play.
"I just played horrible," said Chakvetadze, who won the opening set with just one winner. "I didn't expect it will be such a turnaround after this first set.
"I just couldn't put the ball in the court."
The men's semi-finals will be played Saturday before the women's final with triple champion Roger Federer gunning to reach his 10th straight grand slam final when he takes on gritty Russian Nikolay Davydenko, the fourth seed.
The other semi-final has third-seeded Serb Novak Djokovic against Spaniard David Ferrer, the 15th seed, who beat French Open champion Rafael Nadal on the way to his first appearance in the last four of a grand slam.
In the men's doubles, Swede Simon Aspelin and Austrian Julian Knowle won their first grand slam title by defeating Czechs Lukas Dlouhy and Pavel Vizner 7-5 6-4.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Aspelin. "I think it's going to take a few hours for it to sink in, this week, to really think about it.
"But at the moment it's a dream come true. It's an amazing feeling."