Home > Other sports > U.S Open Tennis | Williams feels pain after losing to Henin

U.S Open Tennis | Williams feels pain after losing to Henin

FLUSHING, N.Y. — One hour after taking down the second member of the Williams tennis conglomerate in as dazzling a match as the women’s game has produced this year, Justine Henin of Belgium listened with apparent amusement as reporters informed her that her latest victim was suffering from a mysterious illness.

She smiled. Her eyebrows rose. And Henin said, barely audibly, “I’m not surprised.”

If Venus Williams was physically uncomfortable in this 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 setback, which sends Henin to today’s U.S. Open final against Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, it wasn’t apparent until the American called for the trainer at the 1-hour, 42-minute mark, immediately after Henin had battled back from love-40 to hold serve, stabilize and take a 4-3 lead in the final set.

“I’m OK. I was just feeling dizzy, a little sick to the stomach,” Williams said. “I’m not really sure what’s wrong with me.

“But, you know, credit to her for playing well.”

After the match, Williams’ mother, Oracene Price, said she was worried enough about her daughter to urge her to get a full checkup. “I want her to go to the Mayo Clinic,” she said. She disclosed that her daughter had been diagnosed as anemic after Wimbledon this year and came down with a similar dizziness in California a few weeks later.

Only Williams can say if she was physically unable to perform in the last 15 minutes of the stirring semifinal, but she had enough gusto left in her arsenal to break Henin to close to 5-4. A few moments later, Henin broke back, winning on her first match point at 30-40.

“Unbelievable courage,” said Henin’s longtime coach, Carlos Rodriguez, who was in rapture not only over his own player but Williams as well. “I’ve never seen Venus play like this in years. I’ve never seen her come to the net so often and so well. With this performance, she’s back at the top.”

She is also out of the tournament, along with sister Serena Williams, and it was the second time — after Martina Hingis did it at the 2001 Australian Open — that a player has defeated both Williams sisters in the same Grand Slam tournament.

For Henin, it was her 11th win in a row since her semifinal loss at Wimbledon, and without the loss of a set.

She will be overwhelmingly favored to defeat Kuznetsova, who defeated Russian Anna Chakvetadze 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in a poorly played match that preceded Henin and Williams at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Even though Henin and Williams hadn’t played since 2003, Williams had won seven in a row. Henin wasn’t psyched out.

Henin said she knew nothing about Williams’ physical condition but didn’t seem particularly sympathetic.

“What we do out there is pretty tough, physically and mentally,” she said. “There isn’t one day where I don’t have any pain some way, so it’s normal.

“We just try to deal with it the best we can.”


• In the men’s semifinals today, No. 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland plays No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and No. 3 Novak Djokovic of Serbia faces No. 15 David Ferrer of Spain.

Federer is 9-0 against Davydenko. Ferrer is 2-1 against Djokovic.

• Mercer Island resident Michael Chang was nominated for the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s class of 2008. Chang was 17 when he won the 1989 French Open.

The Hall’s new members will be announced in January.

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