NEW YORK -- Venus Williams will head to a doctor to figure out why she felt so ill while losing to Justine Henin in the U.S. Open semifinals.
Serena Williams talked about Henin's "lucky shots" after losing to the Belgian in the quarterfinals.
Whatever the reasons, whatever the rationalizing, know this: Henin has a chance to become the first woman to win a Grand Slam title while beating both Williams sisters along the way.
In a riveting match filled with superb all-court play by both women, Henin reached her third U.S. Open final by beating Venus 7-6 (2), 6-4 on Friday.
"I really believed I could do it, and that's maybe why I did," Henin 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."
The No. 1-seeded Henin will face No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova on Saturday night in a title match featuring two past Open champions. That will be preceded by the men's semifinals, with No. 1 Roger Federer against No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko and No. 3 Novak Djokovic against No. 15 David Ferrer.
Neither Williams will be there, because Venus left Flushing Meadows the same way Serena did, undone by all those big shots off the racket of the little Henin.
"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."
Later, the Williams' mother, Oracene Price, who also serves as their coach, revealed that Venus found out she has anemia after winning Wimbledon in July and has been taking medicine for the condition.
Price said her older daughter felt lightheaded and weak during some matches at the U.S. Open, "like the ground was moving."
"You don't know what's going on," Price said, adding that she wants Venus to get fully checked out.
Henin had some trouble breathing early in the second set and said afterward it was something that bothered her the past few days. Told of Venus' discussion of her own health problems, Henin could only smile and say wryly, "I'm surprised."
It was after Henin beat Serena on Tuesday night that the younger Williams avoided any kind words about the victor.
Then again, the Williams family isn't used to this sort of treatment. Serena leads active women with eight Grand Slam titles, while Venus has six. And they've met in six all-Williams major finals.
Only once before had someone defeated the two siblings at the same major: Martina Hingis got past Serena in the quarterfinals and Venus in the semifinals at the 2001 Australian Open, only to lose to Jennifer Capriati in the final.
"Didn't trust myself enough in the last few years against them," Henin said. "And then this year a lot of things have changed. I trust myself much more."
The 5-foot-5, 125-pound Henin worked every angle Friday, constructing points, sneaking to the net and repeatedly placing balls on the lines. She pounded serves at up to 117 mph and handled Williams' faster offerings, sometimes leaping to reach balls that bounced up near her shoulders.
Henin even came up with a second-set lob winner over the 6-1 Williams -- a delivery that put a wide smile on the Belgian's face and left the American slumping her shoulders and hanging her head.
Williams later was physically spent, asking for a trainer to come out and check her pulse and temperature. Right after that, she hit some serves in the 70s while getting broken to trail 5-3 in the second set.
The match ended on a backhand by Williams that sailed out, her 35th unforced error -- 13 more than Henin.
That's not to say Williams wasn't good at times, too.
She broke when Henin served for the first set at 5-4, ending a 10-stroke point with a backhand passing winner and a 16-stroke exchange with a cross-court forehand winner on the line. In the next game, Williams won the point of the match on the 27th shot, a cross-court swinging forehand volley.
Wind swirled through Arthur Ashe Stadium, playing havoc with the ball, yet they engaged in several long points filled with reflex volleys, great gets and clean winners on the run.
It was precisely what might be expected from a couple players who have combined to win 12 Slam singles titles.
Henin is the one who gets to try for her seventh overall and second at the U.S. Open. She won the 2003 title, was the runner-up last year and will be a heavy favorite Saturday -- her record against Kuznetsova is 14-2, including a victory in the 2006 French Open final.
"I don't want to think about it," said Kuznetsova, who got off to a horrible start in her all-Russian semifinal against No. 6 Anna Chakvetadze.
How horrible? Chakvetadze won the first set despite hitting only one winner.
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.
"I played the worst first set. I couldn't put the ball in, and I was really embarrassed by my game," Kuznetsova said. "When the nerves get in the middle, it's tough."
Eventually, it was Chakvetadze who was struggling to keep her composure, wiping away tears while waiting to return serves in the final game.
"I just played horrible," she said. "Just couldn't put the ball in the court."