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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 12:34 PM   #20
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Kuznetsova beats Dementieva in all-Russian U.S. Open final
September 11, 2004

By Aaron Rennie SportsTicker Staff Writer

FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) - Once again, Elena Dementieva got the worse of an all-Russian Grand Slam final.

Ninth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova twice rallied from a break down in the second set to defeat sixth-seeded Russian compatriot Dementieva, 6-3, 7-5, in the U.S. Open for her first career Grand Slam title.

The 19-year-old, braces-wearing Kuznetsova became the lowest-seeded woman to win the Open.

No Russian woman ever had progressed to the final of a Grand Slam singles draw until the French Open, when Dementieva had a total breakdown and was routed by countrywoman Anastasia Myskina, 6-1, 6-2.

Another Russian, Maria Sharapova, won Wimbledon, meaning the last three Grand Slams of the year were won by Russian women.

In this one, Kuznetsova was broken at love in the first game of the match but immediately broke back and did so again in the sixth game, winning the first set.

Kuznetsova had 12 forehand winners in the set to just one for Dementieva, who once again played with a heavily taped left thigh.

The 22-year-old Dementieva held leads of 2-0 and 4-2 in the second set but Kuznetsova rallied each time, breaking in the 11th game to take the lead for good.

"I really need a better serve to win a Grand Slam," said Dementieva, who was broken five times.

Kuznetsova closed out the match on a second-serve winner to claim the $1 million first prize.

"I think it's been a great tournament for me," Dementieva said. "I wasn't able to play my best because I was playing through pain ... (but) she was playing great today, so well done."

During the trophy presentation, Dementieva asked for and received a moment of silence from the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd to remember the victims of the terrorism attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001 and in the Beslan, Russia, school siege last week.

Like Dementieva and other Russian players, Kuznetsova wore a black ribbon to memorialize the hundreds of people - including numerous children - killed in the school attack. "(This victory) seems so little," said Kuznetsova, who is playing with another Russian, Elena Likhovtseva, in the doubles final Sunday. "I just hope we're going to be together. I want to dedicate this to the people who died on September 11 and in Russia." Kuznetsova and Dementieva had split their previous two career meetings, both this year. Kuznetsova won in three sets on clay in Berlin and Dementieva in three sets on a hard court in Los Angeles.
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