No foot-fault calls, no controversy. Instead, simply quite a comeback for Kim Clijsters, and another victory over a Williams sister in the U.S. Open semifinals.
Defending champion Clijsters extended her winning streak at Flushing Meadows to 20 matches and returned to the final by erasing an early deficit to beat Venus Williams 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 Friday.
"I just wish," Williams said, "I could have played the bigger points a little better."
Williams is 52-2 after taking the first set at the U.S. Open - and both of those losses came against Clijsters, who will face No. 7-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia in tonight's final. If Clijsters wins the championship, she will be the first woman with two consecutive U.S. Open titles since Williams in 2000-01.
"Obviously, this is what you try to achieve," said the No. 2-seeded Clijsters, also the 2005 U.S. Open champion. "I never expected I'd come back in this position. I was trying to do it. It wasn't easy, but I stuck with it."
The 30-year-old Williams, trying to reach her first U.S. Open final since 2002, hurt herself with seven double-faults, including two in the second-set tiebreaker, and then one to set up a break point for Clijsters in the match's next-to-last game. Clijsters broke to go ahead 5-4 in the third set with a perfect lob that curled over the 6-foot-1 Williams and landed right at the baseline.
Williams stopped chasing and watched the ball fall, then hung her head and put a palm up, as if to say, "How am I supposed to get to that?"
Clijsters' take: "It worked. It was an important point. ... That was a big game there."
Earlier Friday, Zvonareva reached her second Grand Slam final in a row by upsetting top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-3. A year ago in New York, Clijsters - playing in only the third tournament of her return after more than two seasons away from the tour - beat Wozniacki in the final, after getting past Williams' younger sister, Serena, in the semifinals. The latter forever will be remembered for Serena's racket-shaking, expletive-laden outburst at the lineswoman who made a late foot-fault ruling.
MEN'S DOUBLES: Bob and Mike Bryan won their ninth Grand Slam title, derailing the "Indo-Pak Express" doubles team of India's Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).
The Bryans captured their third title at Flushing Meadows and 65th overall in a match in which neither team broke serve.