Martina Hingis finally beat both Williams sisters in the same tournament, and handed Venus her worst loss ever in the process.
With a new "wave of confidence," former troubled teenager Jennifer Capriati reached her first Grand Slam final.
The matchup for the Australian Open championship was set after Hingis beat Venus Williams 6-1, 6-1 today, and Capriati knocked out defending champion Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 6-4.
Capriati, the No. 12 seed, reacted by putting her hand behind her head in a gesture of disbelief.
On the men's side, cramps destroyed Patrick Rafter's acrobatic serve-and-volley attack, allowing Andre Agassi, the defending champion, to rally for a 7-5, 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3 victory. Agassi advances to the Australian Open final.
Hingis Sweeps the Williams Sisters
Capriati, who rates the 1992 Olympic gold medal as the greatest feat of her career, beat Steffi Graf in that final at age 16. That was before her mid-1990s hiatus from tennis with drug and personal problems.
Hingis is seeking her fourth title in the last five Australian Opens.
Williams, who beat Hingis on her way to the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles, held service only once, committed 38 errors and yielded her second service break of the second set by serving three double faults.
She gave Hingis match point by slamming a volley far out, and then missed a backhand long.
"Things happen all the time for no apparent reason," Williams said.
She said Hingis played her normal consistent, counterpunching game.
"A lot of times I'd be in there and I'd just miss a shot, just giving it back to her," a subdued Williams said. "That's something you can't do, especially in a Grand Slam semifinal."
Williams, however, had been struggling throughout the tournament, needing three sets in three of her first five matches. She had to rally from 3-5 in the final set to beat Amanda Coetzer in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
"It's a sad thing not to go home with the title," Williams said.
Hingis also was responsible for one of Williams' worst previous losses, 6-2, 6-1 in 1997 — "when I was like a baby," the 20-year-old Williams said.
Before rallying from 1-4 in the final set to beat Serena Williams on Wednesday, Hingis watched Venus' slow start against Coetzer.
"[It] was the same thing today," Hingis said.
"I am fitter now and taking the ball earlier, and I think that helps me when I play the power players like the Williamses," Hingis said.
In three previous events, Hingis had beaten one Williams sister and then lost to the other, including the 1999 U.S. Open, won by Serena.
She became the third player to beat both sisters at the same tournament. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario did it in 1998 and Steffi Graf in '99.
Errors Cost Davenport
Davenport hung her head or banged her racket on the court after some of the 43 errors that accounted for a majority of Capriati's 78 points.
Trying to stay in the match with Capriati serving at 5-4 in the second set, Davenport missed two serve returns, netted a backhand and finally dumped a forehand into the net while chasing a wide shot by Capriati.
"In all the semifinals I've ever played, this was probably the most disappointing in the way that I showed up to play," Davenport said.
Davenport said she was sending balls long because the 93-degree heat made the balls lighter and harder to control.
"Her balls were coming extremely hard, so then it's hard to do what you want with the ball," she added.