Right again, Venus hadn't won Wimbledon and the USO open when she met Hingis at the AO semis in 2001 and lost 6-1, 6-1 to her.
Yes, players do through peaks and valleys.
Hingis wasn't the player she used to be by the end of 2001 or after Indian Wells in 2002, either. She was no longer at the top of her own game, and that is irrespective of any other player out there.
But that concept seems to be hard for some to grasp.
And as for Hingis staying on top with SFs and Finals, the last year she finished as number one was 2000 I believe. She WON nine tournaments that year, including Miami, Zurich and the Chase Championships. In fact, she won 20 more matches that year than anyone on the tour and more tournaments than anyone on the tour. She did not stay on top just by getting to finals.