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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 11:12 AM   #16
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Kuznetsova Tops Dementieva for Open Title

2 hours, 4 minutes ago




By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer

NEW YORK - Pounding ferocious forehands and covering the baseline with the muscular legs of a Tour de France rider, Svetlana Kuznetsova overwhelmed Elena Dementieva 6-3, 7-5 Saturday night in the U.S. Open's first all-Russian final.


AP Photo

Reuters Slideshow: Tennis: U.S. Open


By all rights, Kuznetsova should have been a cycling star: Her brother and parents all won or coached others to Olympic medals and world titles in that sport. Kuznetsova gave that a shot, hated it, and moved on to tennis.



What a brilliant career move. Still just 19, with braces on her teeth, she's the U.S. Open champion, the third straight Russian woman to win a major.



As of four months ago, no Russian woman ever won a major, but Anastasia Myskina beat Dementieva in the French Open final, and Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon . Russians occupy half of the top 10 spots in the rankings.



"Russia is just a powerful country," said Kuznetsova, the youngest Open champion since Serena Williams was 17 in 1999.



Until now, Kuznetsova probably was the least-known of her country's crop of rising stars, instead most famous for being Martina Navratilova's former doubles partner. They won five titles as a pair and were the runners-up at the 2003 Open.



How anonymous is Kuznetsova? After a practice session 1 1/2 hours before the match, she walked across the National Tennis Center grounds without getting asked for autographs or photos. She might as well have been another fan in a gray sweat shirt, milling around, waiting for the U.S. Open final to start.



Indeed, during the on-court trophy presentation after the match, U.S. Tennis Association president Alan Schwartz mispronounced her name before correcting himself.



The men's final Sunday has two more recognizable players: top-ranked Roger Federer against 2001 Open champion Lleyton Hewitt. Federer, bidding to become the first man since 1988 to win three majors in a year, beat No. 5 Tim Henman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, while No. 4 Hewitt eliminated No. 28 Joachim Johansson 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 Saturday afternoon.



Saturday evening began on a somber note, with 20,524 spectators joining in a moment of silence to remember victims of Sept. 11, 2001, and the recent terrorist attack at a school in Russia. Kuznetsova and Dementieva both wore black ribbons in memory of the hundreds of Russian victims, and they walked out from the locker room wearing blue baseball caps with "FDNY" and "NYPD" to honor New York's police and fire workers.



The American flag atop the stadium was at half-staff, and a 50-foot flag was unfurled on court before the match. Dementieva asked the crowd to observe another moment of silence after the match.



"It's a great day for me as a tennis player," Dementieva said. "It's a day to remember. You lost hundreds of people on Sept. 11, 2001 — Sept. 1, 2004, we lost hundreds of children."



When play began, Kuznetsova was brilliant, striking winner after winner on the forehand side. She finished with 23 from that wing alone. Dementieva normally has just as good a forehand but was reduced to chasing shots on defense and wound up with a total of just seven winners overall — 27 fewer than Kuznetsova.



"I was playing in pain these two weeks," said Dementieva, slowed by a left leg injury that was heavily wrapped. She again was undone by some key double-faults. Her total of serving miscues wasn't nearly as high as earlier in the tournament, but she was broken in every game in which she had at least one of her four double-faults.



And unlike Dementieva's previous opponents at the Open, including new No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo and former No. 1 Jennifer Capriati, Kuznetsova stepped up to hammer forehand returns, making her opponent pay for serves around 75 mph.



Dementieva broke Kuznetsova twice in the second set, but then began the very next game with a double-fault each time en route to ceding the advantage right back. The second time, Dementieva ended the game with a double-fault, too.



When Kuznetsova held in the next game to make it 4-all, Dementieva's left leg appeared to buckle a bit while she reached for a backhand, and she went down on that knee. Dementieva was slow getting to a shot in the next game, but she somehow managed to fight off a break point with a backhand that caught the baseline.







But at 5-5, Dementieva double-faulted to break point, then sailed a forehand wide. Kuznetsova served it out, then climbed into the stands for celebratory hugs, including with Navratilova and coach Sergio Casal.

Her father sent her to work with Casal in Barcelona when Kuznetsova was 15 — sometimes she'll yell at herself on court in Spanish. Her father coached five Olympic and world cycling champions, including Kuznetsova's mother, and her brother won a silver in cycling at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Kuznetsova tried cycling but gave it up after her second race. She hadn't had much success in tennis' Grand Slam tournaments until this U.S. Open, losing in the first round at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year. Dementieva did that, too, but she had a great run at the U.S. Open until Saturday night.

It's the first season that three women from one country won Grand Slam titles since 1979, when Americans Barbara Jordan (Australian Open), Chris Evert (French Open) and Tracy Austin (U.S. Open) did it.

Eight straight majors hosted all-Williams or all-Belgian finals. Now, two of the past three have been all-Russian encounters. "All the Russian girls are working hard. They love to compete," Dementieva said. "Just like me, they are dying for every point."

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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 11:30 AM   #17
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S. KUZNETSOVA/M. Pierce

7-6, 6-2

An interview with:

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Svetlana.

Q. How was the match for you against Mary Pierce? What is your feeling now?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: The match was tough, you know. It was pretty close, first set. But I think I had chances to break her in the first set. I just wasn't really convinced in myself. But I just felt like I can do, I can make a break, you know. Left a little bit, missed some easy balls on her serve. But I felt like match was under my control, you know. So I think this was the most important thing. I feel good and I'm looking forward to play next match.

Q. What did she tell you at the end? You spoke with her at the net.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: We're talking sometimes like in the locker room. We have pretty good friendship, you know. I was like, "If you're fine," when she pull the leg, how she was feeling. So I wish her to recover faster, and that's it.

Q. What was wrong with her?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: She said that she pulled a muscle in the last point in tiebreak.

Q. Do you still practice in Spain?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I practice in Emilio Sanchez' academy and Sergio Casal. I've practiced there since 14 and it's already five years.

Q. Who is helping you here?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Sergio Casal.

Q. Is he here?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yes

Q. Is this the biggest win, most important win?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Against Mary?

Q. In general playing on this level.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, I beat Justine this year, I beat Venus, I beat Sugiyama. I beat many good players. I did quarters last year in Wimbledon. I'm just looking forward to do my best the next match.

Q. Is your mother here with you this year?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No. She's not.

Q. You're playing Justine Henin in the quarterfinals. What do you expect from that match?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I think she didn't play yet.

Q. You could play her.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah.

Q. You played her already this year.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I played her three times this year. No, four times. I lost three times and one I won. Last time I lost I had good chances. I just wasn't convinced in myself. Now I feel pretty more confident and I feel like I played -- this is my first whole year that I played as many tournaments as I won. Because before I had age eligibility rule. I feel I'm a little mature in my game. I control better my emotions. I know maybe better what to do in difficult moments. So I'm really looking forward to show good game and to do my best in this match.

Q. If you would play her, what have you learned in the games that you have played her before? Is there another way you have to play her?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, she's just, I mean, one of the biggest players for the moment in the tour. But, I mean, she's a person, and I think I just have to play my game. You know, I have to dictate. You know, if I dictate, I think I win.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 11:31 AM   #18
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September 10, 2004

S. KUZNETSOVA/L. Davenport

1-6, 6-2, 6-4

An interview with:

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Svetlana, please.

Q. Why do you think you needed a practice after that kind of victory?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know, it was great victory but the weather was so -- I mean, the wind was blowing so hard, so you really, like, have to clean your shots after.

But anyway I did it after almost each match. Each day I played, I hit afterwards.

Q. When did you realize that she was hurt?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, Lindsay, if she was hurt, her game doesn't need so much like movement. She play so well without moving, you know. If she's even hurt, you still have to play because she has great hands. And with the wind, it was tough for me to make her move, you know.

So, I mean, I just had to play the same as I played before.

Yeah, she was hurt, I mean, when she took a break, no? But before, I didn't see it. If she wouldn't take a break, I wouldn't see that she was hurt.

Q. Did you see a big difference at the end when she wasn't moving that much?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Not really. I didn't see like last game, but I was serving well, you know.

I mean, the last game, she maybe stop a little bit. But I can't say anything because I been serving well anyway, you know.

Q. Was that your strategy, to move her around?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Against Lindsay, you won't play to her, you know. I mean, it's no way you gonna win it. You know, but in the first set it was so tough because the wind was blowing so hard. I had no chances to put the ball -- to make the ball, you know, to play to the side because you can't risk because you never know where the ball gonna go.

So I was just trying to play my game, to dictate a little bit, not to defend too much and move her around.

Q. How does this feel, first Grand Slam final?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, it feels great, you know. I'm trying not to think so much about it, just to focus. Nothing is done yet, so I'll have to be focus. And after this tournament I'll think about what I did here, right and wrong, and how happy I am or am not.

Q. So you're not...

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I'm calm. I'm fine. I'm happy to win against Lindsay today. Just one more match left. So looking forward for this.

Q. Did you get nervous when Lindsay took that break after the second set? You didn't start the third set very well.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Uhm, yeah, she took this break, but the thing is I had to play better third set. I had to break her in first game. It was difficult because she took this break and you just stopped, you know. I won first point. After, I miss forehand a little bit 'cause of the wind. I mean, it was just too difficult to break her in first game.

And in the second game, I served against the wind, you know. I mean, you just -- against the wind, it's so tough to serve. I just can't describe it. I couldn't do anything. I couldn't -- when I serve, I don't know where the serve gonna go. Doesn't matter where I gonna hit it.

So I was calm, I was trying just to hang there. I knew if she break me against the wind, I can break her, too. That's what I did. After, I was just trying to keep my serve and give her much more problem as I could on her...

Q. Do you think you played well today?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, I've played okay. I played good, you know. Of course I wish play better, you know, but I am still very happy with result. That I hang in there, you know. The most important was for me to put as many balls as I could into the court to make her move around.

I serve better in the end, in the last two sets.

Q. Were you nervous at all that first game, of the first set?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Not really. I was just fine. I was just playing the match. I was nervous in the last game at 5-4, so...

But was -- I was okay.

Q. When you found out that Dementieva won the first set 6-Love, were you surprised?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: A little bit, but not really because I know that the wind is like this and the game could change any moment. That's the same thing that happened today in our match, you know.

With this wind, you never know who gonna win. I really didn't know. I didn't watch any of this match because I been here practicing.

Q. You're Top 10 in the world. Do you sort of feel like the forgotten Russian among all the Russians?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Like what?

Q. Like the one that's not noticed among all the Russians even though you're Top 10 in the world?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I feel different. I feel that other players that are Russian have more attention to them, you know. But I don't mind, you know. I am still Top 10, I am still doing my good results, and I am still practicing better and better my game. If I will do better, everybody will notice me, so...

Just think positive.

Q. Elena said the French final that she and Myskina played was the biggest thing in Russia, an all-Russian final. Do you think playing Elena might be bigger than that?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I don't think is gonna be bigger for Russia because first thing is much bigger, definitely, you know.

But it's really big for me, you know. So for me it's the most important thing. So for me, for people who are around me, you know...

So for me this is the most important thing. Anyway, I am really happy if it's all-Russian final. I'm fine if it's gonna be American. I don't have nothing against it. I just want to play the winner, that's it.

Q. Considering what happened at the French Open with Myskina, she went on to win the tournament, did that make you believe you could do the same thing, what you've done here?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know, you always have to believe in what you can do this. But sometimes it's difficult because you see the level on the TV and it seems to be so high. But, still, I was like I had matchpoint. I was most like difficult opponent of her, I think, Roland Garros. Of course I did believe her. Of course I could have change history maybe, I could have been Grand Slam winner and it could be somebody different, you know.

I mean, you never know. But of course I believe it. Of course I was upset about it because I lost against her twice this year and both times I was up all the time. It was -- match was in my hands.

Q. Can you talk about the best vacation you've taken?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know, I'm not really know any vacation I took in my life. But last year I had three days. I like just to -- when I was living in Russia, I was going to snowboard sometimes. Last year I had only three days off, so I just took my car, my friends, and we went to the Alps, French Alps, and I was just skiing for two days. For me, it was like almost the best thing.

Q. Where did you go to practice after the match? Who did you hit with?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: With my coach, Sergio.

Q. Did you stay on the practice courts?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah.

Q. Did anybody stop you on your way out there? Did everybody notice?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Some kids, you know, few girls, but not really many people, you know.

I know that if Lindsay would do that thing, you know, of course there would be more people watching her. But, you know, I don't mind. I am still doing this. I am doing the way I want to, you know, and I'm still enjoying it.

Q. You played tennis every day last year except for three days in the year?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No.

Q. You said you only had three days off.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Three days off in a row. You know, of course I had days off (laughing). I mean, I'm not nuts to play every day.

But last year, in the start at least, when I had days off, it was like I miss tennis so much. I couldn't stay day off of tennis. I wanted to be there just to go to club to hit a little bit. But now I have so many things to do and so many tournaments, so I just need it sometimes. Your body, your mind just need rest, you know.

Q. What is it about tennis that you like so much?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Just because if you work so hard, always is gonna be benefit back to you. Because you really have -- you can show your personality in the court, and definitely it's good. We have like four Grand Slam. We have so many tournaments in the year. I start to understand that after Olympics, because that guys who do there, they go there and maybe they have two Olympics in their life, you know. And if you do one, if you don't do twice, you know, you never happen in your life for them. Maybe you had bad luck, but nobody cares, you know. You didn't win so that's it.

We can try our chances everywhere, you know. The year is long. You travel, you see more people, you know, you get more experience on the road especially.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 11:33 AM   #19
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Kuznetsova Queen of All-Russian Final
by Yoni Goldberg
Saturday, September 11, 2004


The women's tennis revolution was televised. Indeed, in a primetime matchup, No. 9 Svetlana Kuznetsova followed Anastasia Myskina and Maria Sharapova, champions at the French Open and Wimbledon respectively, to become the third consecutive Russian woman to break through and win her first major as she trumpted No. 6 seed and fellow countrywoman Elena Dementieva 6-3, 7-5 to capture the 2004 US Open Women's Singles Championship title.

Kuznetsova, a hard-hitting 19-year-old, feasted on Dementieva's anemic second serve, capturing 65% of the second serve points en route to breaking the French Open finalist in five of her ten service games.

At the outset, however, Kuznetsova seemed nervous and shaky, making three unforced errors in the first game, losing her powerful serve at love. "I was so nervous during the first game. I was thinking, 'What should I do here today?'" She continued, "But something was telling me I'd be fine and settle down."

She was right. As would become the norm, Kuznetsova bounced back and, after three deuces, she drilled huge forehands and broke back to even the game score at 1.

The contest quickly settled into a baseline slugfest, tailor-made for Kuznetsova's booming groundstrokes and Dementieva, who mustered a mere seven winners during the match and struggled to build any momentum as the set progressed. After dropping her serve in the sixth game to give Kuznetsova a 4-2 lead, the pair stayed on serve, allowing Kuznetsova to win the set 6-3.

Appearing charged at the beginning of the second frame, Dementieva hardly sat down between sets, preferring to stand at the baseline waiting for play to resume. She quickly held serve and broke Kuznetsova to take an early 2-0 lead in the second set. Four games later, with the set back on serve, Dementieva placed herself squarely in the driver's seat after breaking Kuznetsova in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead.

Things did not, however, take long to unravel for the six-foot-tall Russian. Kuznetsova, breaking Dementieva, put the set on serve again in the eighth game.

With the set knotted at 5-5, Dementieva's serve, a part of her game with which she struggled all tournament, finally caught up with her. Kuznetsova won the first two points of the eleventh game with forehand winners off of Dementieva's second serve. Trailing 15-30, Dementieva double faulted, giving Kuznetsova a pair of break points and, ultimately, a 6-5 lead and the chance to serve the match.

Just two years removed from entering the Open as a qualifier, Kuznetsova, serving for her first major championship, held her composure splendidly. On her second match point, Kuznetsova rifled her third ace of the night to close out the tournament.

Asked about her muted post-match celebration, she responded, "I was so excited, but maybe shocked, but I had a feeling I could do it here in New York."
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 11:34 AM   #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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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 07:28 PM   #21
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Sveta's going to Bali again at age 19-



Quote:
Originally Posted by John Inverdale
Russia’s Kuznetsova outlasts Martinez to win Bali WTA title

BALI (Indonesia): Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova won her second title in two months when she outlasted eighth-seeded Conchita Martinez 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 in the final of the Wismilak International on Sunday.

The win will catapult the 17-year-old, ranked 264 at the beginning of the year and needing a wild card to enter the qualifying rounds of the Australian Open, into the world's top 50 next week for the first time.

Martinez, who was playing in her first final since the 2000 French Open, claimed the opening set of the two-hour, 43-minute marathon by breaking to lead 5-3 and then holding off a break point in the next game. A disappointed Kuznetsova then dropped her serve to fall behind 1-0 in the second set, but she levelled at 2-2 when Martinez netted a weak backhand and then went on to win the tie-break.

In a dramatic final set, Kuznetsova chose to serve and volley much more than she had in the opening two sets. She broke for 1-0, but Martinez levelled at 2-2. The Russian, who won the Helsinki event in August as a qualifier, then broke to take a 4-3 lead, but failed to serve out the match at 5-4. Kuznetsova held four match points before Martinez eventually levelled with her third break point, but Martinez then dropped her serve again after leading 40-0. Kuznetsova didn't waste her second opportunity.

Kuznetsova is coached by Emilio Sanchez and also works with his sister, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

They are close friends, and at the awards ceremony Kuznetsova dedicated her title to her semi-final opponent Sanchez-Vicario, saying it was she who deserved to win because she had taught her so much. "The match was very, very tough for me mentally," said the 2001 ITF World Junior Champion. "It was a different situation to Helsinki when I won my first WTA title. I wasn't nervous there at all. But here it was very difficult because having to beat Arantxa yesterday was the most difficult day of my life, and so I felt obligated to win today. "That's why I couldn't play my good game at all. When you're so nervous you cannot do anything. I just tried to hit my good forehand and tried to make her move because she doesn't do that well. So I'm not happy with the way I played but I'm happy that I won."

Despite the disappointment of her defeat, Martinez could take some consolation from having come so close to winning her first title since the German Open in May 2000. "Something changed when I was up a set and 2-0. I didn't play as aggressive as I should have," said Martinez. "I had so many chances too in the tiebreak, but the match was tight and it went her way. "Right now, when you lose a match like that of course it's disappointing, but it's good to be in the final and to fight for a title. I felt like I played pretty good the whole week and it was a close final." —AFP
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 09:11 PM   #22
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Kuznetsova continues Russia's rule
By Pete Alfano
New York
September 13, 2004


Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova gives a winner's grin after her victory in the US Open women's final.
Picture:Getty Images



The stadium announcer mangled their names. Playing the Beatles' Back in the USSR while they warmed up was out-of-date and inappropriate. And the match did not quite live up to the magnitude of the moment.

But for Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva, the women's final of the US Open was the crowning achievement in a year when the young women of Russian tennis have taken over the game and won three of the four grand slam titles.

Kuznetsova spoiled another major final for her countrywoman, defeating Dementieva, 6-3, 7-5 to win her first grand slam and give Russian women victories in the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

"Russian tennis is just too powerful," Kuznetsova said, while Dementieva was similarly impressed. "I feel very proud for Russian girls and tennis," Dementieva said. "Today was another great moment. It's a miracle to me that Russian girls won three grand slams and I would be in two finals."

These are the first three slam events won by Russian women. Anastasia Myskina won the French, defeating Dementieva. Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon. Kuznetsova is ranked in the top 15, but wasn't getting much notice when the US Open began.

She has everyone's attention now. She plays aggressively, gambling that the risk-reward ratio will be in her favour. Her serve is for winning points, not just putting the ball in play. And she scurries around the court to compensate for a lack of reach.

Kuznetsova said she was nervous at the start, playing in front of 20,000 fans. It showed, as she was broken at love in the first game. "I thought, 'What am I doing here?' " she said.

But she was able to tune out the crowd.

"There were so many people; I didn't want to think about it," she said. "So when I won, I couldn't show what I felt. I was so shocked and excited, but it didn't come out. My friends and coaches told me I could make this result. Something inside of me was telling me I'd be fine, just do your thing."

Despite making two grand slam finals, Dementieva knows her game is flawed. It starts with her serve. She was broken five times and had four double faults, although she served somewhat better than she did on Friday against Jennifer Capriati in the semi-finals.

"If I want to win a grand slam, I need to have a better serve," Dementieva said. "I have never liked to serve or to practise my serve. I've got to learn to love it."

On the third anniversary of the Twin Towers tragedy, both players earned the admiration and applause of fans in the trophy presentation after the match when they talked about 9-11 and the terrorist attack in Russia on September 1 that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of schoolchildren.

"On behalf of us to you guys," Dementieva told the fans, "we have to stay together and battle terrorism."

It brought thunderous applause she didn't hear during the match. After breaking Kuznetsova in the opening game of the match, she was broken right back. She was broken again in the sixth game when Kuznetsova pounded a forehand winner and then a return winner. Dementieva was broken in the third game of the second set, but broke back in the sixth as fans cheered in hopes of inspiring her.

But if her first serve is weak, her second allows opponents to virtually pick a spot for a winner. Kuznetsova broke at 5-5 when Dementieva was forced to her second serve three times and double-faulted once.

"I knew her game," Kuznetsova said. "We played twice this year and even though I lost once, I had so many chances to win. I know if I play my game, my serve is much better."
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 09:17 PM   #23
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Kuznetsova a surprise Open champ
BY JAMES BECK
Of The Post and Courier Staff




Young Svetlana Kuznetsova is the one in the half-dozen top Russian women few people expected to win the U.S. Open.

Elena Dementieva, Nadia Petrova, Vera Zvonareva, Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova and French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, in that order, all appeared to be stronger contenders to give Russia its third Grand Slam women's title of 2004. But after Kuznetsova's 6-3, 7-5 conquest of the talented Dementieva in Saturday night's U.S. Open final, the entire tennis world will take note of the big forehand of this 19-year-old.

Kuznetsova practically blew Dementieva off the court with what may be the strongest forehands in women's tennis. Kuznetsova showed great improvement in her movement over earlier this year when she appeared to be heavier on her feet.

This time, Kuznetsova appeared to have excellent mobility. Hampered by an upper left leg injury, Dementieva seldom was able to hit winners herself or get Kuznetsova off balance to the extent that she would mis-hit her forehand. With three different Grand Slam champions and three more women capable of such success, 2004 was a banner year for the Russians.
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 10:24 AM   #24
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Out of nowhere, Kuznetsova a champion

NEW YORK (AP) -- A few days before she became the U.S. Open champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova walked into a drizzly night to play her quarterfinal match.
Shifted onto outer court No. 11, it was Kuznetsova, opponent Nadia Petrova -- and 23 fans at the start.



No stats were kept. No major TV coverage. No big deal, by the looks of it.

"I don't have much publicity," she said later that day. "People do not know me as much."

Even as she strolled through the National Tennis Center on Saturday night after her warmup and headed over to Arthur Ashe Stadium to play for the title, not a single person stopped her for an autograph or picture. A few minutes later, when Elena Dementieva emerged, the tall blonde was enveloped by fans.

That was then. Now, Kuznetsova needn't worry -- the 19-year-old with braces assured that by defeating Dementieva 6-3, 7-5 in the all-Russian final.

"I want success. I want to do something," she said. "I really want people to remember my name."

While the tennis world is learning her name, that doesn't mean people can pronounce it. During the on-court trophy presentation, U.S. Tennis Association president Alan Schwartz botched it before apologizing and correcting himself.

Kuznetsova missed a chance to win another title Sunday when she and Elena Likhovtseva lost in doubles to Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez 6-4, 7-5.

Still, at No. 9, Kuznetsova became the tournament's lowest-seeded female singles champion in the Open era, which began in 1968.

A showing so impressive that it was worth calling her parents back in Russia.

"My mom, she didn't watch the match. She said, 'What was the score?"' Kuznetsova said. Told it, her mother responded, "Wow, two sets. That's good."

After finishing that call, doing interviews and accepting congratulations, Kuznetsova did as she always does. She returned to the practice court and, as midnight approached, hit more balls before leaving the grounds.

"After the match, you have to clean up your game," she said Sunday. "It doesn't matter if you win the title."

Back at the hotel, she talked to friends on the Internet, packed her bag for an upcoming trip to Bali and got something to eat. She also turned on the television, hoping to see highlights from the greatest victory of her career.

"I was switching channels, but I couldn't find anything," she said.

Clips of her win were shown on the scoreboard between sets of her doubles match, and Kuznetsova got a cheer from the fans filling into watch Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt play for the men's title.

At one point, Kuznetsova hit an overhead that nipped Suarez's heel and put up both hands to apologize. The match ended when Suarez crunched Kuznetsova's return for the winning point.

"If I really concentrate in doubles, I can do very well," she said. "But it's not my point for doing this. I'm just doing my best for singles."
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 03:20 PM   #25
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Kuznetsova's fighting spirit lifts her to new heights
From Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent, in New York
NI_MPU('middle');WHO is next? After Anastasia Myskina and Maria Sharapova, it was the turn of Svetlana Kuznetsova to extend Russia’s bear hug on women’s grand-slam tournaments in 2004. She is more the hammer than the sickle, a free-swinging ball-cruncher whose response to walking out to play in the US Open final was: “Wow, now what should I do here today?”

Once she had made up her mind that winning the championship might not be a bad thing, Kuznetsova got on with the task of defeating Elena Dementieva, her compatriot, 6-3, 7-5, using her knuckle-duster forehand to brutal effect. Kuznetsova was not, in the manner of Amélie Mauresmo and Jennifer Capriati, going to fall for Dementieva’s mess of a serve; she stepped in and treated it with the disdain it merited.



At least Dementieva did not crumble, as she had done in the French Open final against Myskina. She gave as much as she could when having to play, in the metaphorical sense, with one hand tied behind her back. That is almost where she completes her service action from, with its wide-arc toss that forces her to throw her racket arm at least 45 degrees farther out than she should. “I really need to have a better serve to win a grand slam,” she said, a statement of the obvious if ever there was one.

It is the eighth wonder of the world that Dementieva has managed to reach two grand-slam tournament finals with a fundamental of the game in such disarray. More often than not, the third stroke of a rally is her strong suit, given that she can nail a decent groundstroke if her opponent miscues, having gawked in disbelief at a serve that is so puny. But she has to play so much on the defensive in every rally that it has to take a toll.

Kuznetsova was eager to go for the jugular. Those closest to her had been telling the 19-year-old for months that she had it in her to be a champion. She had lost 8-6 in the final set of a fourth-round match to Myskina at the French Open, having had a match point; she went on to win the Hastings Direct Championship at Eastbourne, only to fall at the first hurdle at Wimbledon to Virginie Razzano, of France. But, in the manner of her parents, both international cyclists, she pulled herself together and returned to the saddle.

The reward was a cheque for $1 million (about £555,300), the largest in the women’s grand-slam events, a highest ranking of No 6 and universal acclaim. She is not going to be the darling of the popular press in the Sharapova mould, her game is not one blessed with aesthetic beauty, but it gets the job done and she made hay while, for the first time in the Open era, not one of the top four seeds made the semi-finals. There has been plenty of change in the rankings. Mauresmo is the new No 1, although she has played in only one grand-slam final, in Australia five years ago; Justine Henin-Hardenne is not what she was and Lindsay Davenport, who would have returned to the top had her hip not given out in a warm-up before her semi-final, does not know how long she can remain a force. Kim Clijsters, who has missed the past three slams with a wrist injury, was pounding balls on the practice court last week and there are the Williams sisters whose father, Richard, said in one interview that he thinks they should quit now because officialdom does not want them around in tennis any more
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 03:30 PM   #26
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Kuznetsova the next of Russia's leading lights

Stephen Bierley in New York
Monday September 13, 2004


Svetlana Kuznetsova may be one of the least well known of the five Russian women in the world's top 10, and her $1m (£556,000) prize money for winning the US Open pales into insignificance compared to the multimillion-dollar endorsements of Maria Sharapova, the Wimbledon champion, but it could be that Kuznetsova - St Petersburg's own Special K - will turn out to be the pick of the bunch.



Her 6-3, 7-5 victory over Elena Dementieva, who also lost the first-All Russian grand slam final, against Anastasia Myskina at the French Open this spring, was dynamic and powerful enough to suggest this will not be the 19-yearold's only major title.

Kuznetsova has been based in Barcelona since she was 14, and is coached by a Spaniard, Sergio Casal, whom she was the first to hug. She admitted to wondering What am I doing here?" on Saturday night as she walked into the Arthur Ashe stadium, the world's largest tennis arena with its 23,000 capacity, but she rarely allowed herself to become nervous or rushed once she had survived an opening break of serve to love.

Dementieva, 22, continues to have service problems, which drove her to tears of frustration in the French Open at Roland Garros, and for the first time in the latter stages of the tournament her frailty was severely punished by her fellow Russian whose forehand return is a formidable weapon against considerably better servers. It has said much for Dementieva's resolve, courage, and ability that she reached this final at all so soon after the debacle in Paris. A left thigh injury also restricted her movement, while two hardfought victories over Amélie Mauresmo and Jennifer Capriati had further sapped her energy, but this final was never one-sided.



"I wasn't able to play my best tennis," Dementieva said, referring to the injury. "But Svetlana played a great game and deserved to win. I played some good tennis and I am not that disappointed. She just played better than me."

Kuznetsova had gone out to practise for an hour after each of her previous matches, and Saturday was no exception. She is a former world junior No1, and the success of her compatriots this year prompted her to work even harder at her game.

Last year she played doubles with Martina Navratilova, who was at courtside to see her win. "She came to see me before the final and said: 'I did it when it was my first final and you can do it too'."

There was little in the way of subtlety - the women's game has no equivalent of Roger Federer - but Kuznetsova had obviously gained considerable confidence from her semi-final victory over Davenport, and today climbs to a career-high No6 in the rankings, just behind Dementieva and Myskina. "The competition between us is why we are progressing so fast," said Kuznetsova, who became the third different Russian woman to win a grand slam title this year. And all this 30 years after Dementieva's coach, Olga Morozova, had become the first, and previously only, Russian women's grand slam finalist when she finished runner-up twice at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Now there is no stopping them.</FONT>
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Old Sep 14th, 2004, 07:05 AM   #27
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Thanks guys for the aticles
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Old Sep 21st, 2004, 08:07 AM   #28
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Building Of A Champion: Coaches Reveal Story Behind Kuznetsova's Rise


Svetlana Kuznetsova By Sanchez-Casal Academy Staff
09/20/2004

Svetlana Kuznetsova, "Sveta" as we call her, arrived at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona in 1999. She was about 14 years old. Her mother, Galina Tsareva, was an Olympic cycling champion and her father, Alexandr Kuznetsov, a cycling coach who was conducting preseason training in a city nearby, about 100 kilometers away.


But Svetlana wanted to take a different path: she wanted to become a tennis player.

The first time we met Sveta, our staff at the Sanchez-Casal Academy shared a common reaction: she was so shy she would not look at you, she had no confidence in herself, but every time she hit the ball the noise it made was scary. It was something we had not seen or heard before from a girl, maybe slightly similar to Andy Roddick. She reminded us a little bit of Arantxa (Sanchez Vicario) when was little — an incredible talent — but with strokes we had not seen from junior girls her age before.

We had a staff meeting and decided that we would help her. At that time we just started the Academy and didn’t have many players at Sveta's level.

She felt very relaxed because we decided at the very beginning to establish a very simple goal: to train Sveta to become the best player possible; an all-court player who didn't have to win from the first day. I think she appreciated and valued this approach because in Russia, Sveta was always under intense pressure. We believe our approach helped improve her confidence as Sveta saw she was winning matches because she was a better player, not because she was pressured to win.

Less than two years later, she was already the No. 1 junior in the world at the age of 16. We tried to convince the Spanish Tennis Federation to help her become a Spanish citizen, but they didn’t believe the potential that we saw in her. The Federation's president at that time said: "She’s a mediocre player who never will be in the top 20. We have people offering players like this to us every month." Yet today, after Arantxa's retirement and Conchita (Martinez) in the final phase of her career, Spain is in deep trouble in its efforts to produce top female players.

At the age of 17, Sveta began traveling with Arantxa and her team of coaches from the Academy. That year she won her first professional event in singles and three doubles tournaments together with Arantxa. Playing and training with Arantxa taught Sveta discipline, strategy and how to be a true professional. Arantxa opened the first door for her and helped mentor her. At that time, Arantxa was Martina Navratilova's partner. Martina was also training in our traveling group. Once Arantxa retired at the end of the year, Martina, who is smart and knows talent, talked Sveta into playing with her. In 2003 they won four titles and played the year-end WTA Tour Championships. Martina taught her how to play inside the court. She opened the second door for Sveta.

When two former No. 1 players — Arantxa and Martina — recorded some of their best recent doubles results playing with a rookie, it proved to many that Sveta had talent. Sveta's confirmation as a top singles player came the same year as she advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals and finished in the top 30. Stephan, her personal coach from the Academy, traveled with her for those two years, which were the most difficult ones. Giselle, the academy's physical coach did a great job improving her mobility, which was one of her weaknesses. Both coaches stayed with Martina when she decided to play with Lisa Raymond and go for the Olympics in 2004. Sveta was very disappointed and was ready to quit playing doubles.

All the coaching credit for those two years of Sveta's career should go to Stephan who worked with her through her maturation as a player and a woman.

"She can be lovely and great to work with as well as very difficult and not understandable," Stephan said of Sveta.

Angel Gimenez took over the coaching and with Sergio’s (Sergio Casal) help convinced her that she still had to improve two very important aspects of her game: her serve and her play inside the court. Angel and Sergio told Sveta if she didn't play doubles, it would be more difficult for her to fulfill her potential. After a long conversation, she understand our point and accepted.

Sveta started to play doubles with Elena Likhovtseva to prepare for the Olympics. Our goal for 2004 was to take more advantage of her serve in order to play more effectively inside the court. She wanted to qualify for the Olympics and the year-end WTA Tour Championships.

The preseason was a very demanding training session. Sveta worked harder than ever before and her hard work paid off as the results came immediately. We believed Sveta was making major improvements. She was maturing, believing in herself and realizing it was all about her. She started to win regularly and improve her results. Her losses were usually to the higher-ranked players. In March, Sveta was ranked 20th when she handed top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne her first loss of the season, a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 defeat at the $600,000 Qatar Total Open in Doha. The victory came nearly a week after Sveta beat Venus Williams.

"The other players started to respect her (then)," Angel said. "If she controls her power something big will happen."

At Roland Garros, Sveta had two match points against Anastasia Myskina, but could not close the match. Myskina went on to beat Dementieva to win Roland Garros and Sveta knew she had nearly beaten the champion. From the red clay, Sveta went to the grass courts and won in Eastbourne. At the Olympics she almost won a medal, losing to Mauresmo in a close match.

The Myskina win in Paris, Maria Sharapova's win at Wimbledon and victories by Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva, Nadia Petrova and Elena Bovina in others events served as incredible motivators for Sveta. Competitive images and hunger are the most successful motivators. Most importantly, Sveta believed in herself and knew it was time to show she could win. She found maturity and started to get results.

Sveta already registered the fastest women's serve at the U.S. Open ( 208km/h), struck the most aces (44) and had only lost one set to Davenport in the tournament before she beat Dementieva in the final. Based on the way she played throughout the tournament, our coaches believed she could take the title.

"Serving this way and with a bit of order in her game, she is much better than all other players," said Sergio Casal, who was coaching Sveta at the Open. "She can win this thing."

She did exactly that.

Sveta's parents, who come from an athletic background, deserve credit because they let every person at the Academy do their job and do the best for their daughter. Sveta was very mature in most cases, making big decisions that helped her career, which is not always common on the tour.

Sveta followed her success at the U.S. Open by winning her second consecutive tournament title in Bali and extending her winning streak to 11 matches in the process. She will go to Beijing next, where she will play doubles with Arantxa. She is also supposed to play in Stuttgart, Moscow, the Zurich Masters and the Fed Cup finals. But this could change if she keeps playing so well and so much. It is tough for those players who advance so far in each event to maintain such a demanding schedule all year.

We believe Sveta's confidence improved substantially, but she still has to be more consistent in believing that she can be the best and must continue to keep working hard to reach that goal.

To relax and to find inspiration, she listens to music all the time. She is addicted to this mp3 player and has more that 2,000 songs on it. She is truly a music alcoholic.

"Sveta" is her nickname name because Svetlana is to difficult to say in Spanish, and "Kuzne" is another nickname as well. Sveta is very easy going and has a good sense of humor. Sometimes, because of her shyness, people thinks she is arrogant. But she is not arrogant and people who think that usually don't know her very well.

Sveta is the best achievement for our Academy in six years of hard work. Arantxa had great results as well, but was already complete as a player when we worked together. The same may be true for Bovina, who has trained with us since June. Many other WTA players come to our Academy for part-time practices: Jelena Dokic, Maggie Maleeva, Chanda Rubin, Daniela Hantuchova, Janette Husarova and others. Most of our players are younger, from ages 13 to 17, and do their education at the same time. We believe this is very important.

On the boys side, we're very proud to say that the junior U.S. Open champion Andre Murray is also living and training with us part-time. Other players such as Juan Monaco and Gilles Muller also came out from our program.

Our staff includes five former Davis Cup coaches who share all responsibilities for all our players. We are very proud to work with the U.S. Open women's champion and U.S. Open boys champion and believe both will continue to develop as players.

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Old Oct 1st, 2004, 04:23 AM   #29
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That tennisweek article (the last one posted) is fantastic. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Oct 29th, 2004, 04:32 PM   #30
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To Kuznetsova, what Myskina has is a lot of fight. "She just fights very much," Kuznetsova said, "and she never gives you an easy game. She runs. And she's clever, you know."



Kuznetsova's assets are more robust. She might not be able to lift a building, but she looks as if she could. With her strength, she could be the most nimble of the Russians.

"Maybe," she said.

A modest sort, Kuznetsova, now ranked No. 9. Also a dedicated individual. She has chosen to make her base not in her place of birth, St. Petersburg, but in Barcelona, Spain, where the climate is more conducive to playing tennis than it is in the place associated with the czars. She acknowledged she misses her homeland.

"But if I want to be something in my life, I have to do something," she explained. "I can be No. 1, I think."

A large statement by a player who has yet to break through in a WTA Tour singles event, but listen to Kuznetsova and one gets the feeling her ambitions are realistic.

"I want to improve my speed, my game, everything," she said. "I'm looking for perfection in everything. It's like I am in competition with myself."

But for one point, it might have been Kuznetsova being acclaimed in Paris rather than Myskina. In her match against Myskina, Kuznetsova, serving, held match point. "But I was rushing too much," she said. She failed on a ground stroke and Myskina was able to complete a 1-6, 6-4, 8-6 conquest. From there, Myskina went on to her straight-set decimation of Elena Dementieva (also due at La Costa) in the final.



Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, the tour's ranking player, stopped Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals 6-2, 6-2. Kuznetsova's effort suggested her game fits nicely on grass, but she said she doesn't regard grass as her preferred surface. "Not really," she said. "I think I can play anywhere."
Very true, and from before Wimbledon.
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