As the strains of "Back in the USSR" played over the Arthur Ashe Stadium public address system, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva got set to determine which young Russian would take the U.S. Open title -- the country's third straight Grand Slam.
And, in just 1 hour 14 minutes, 19-year-old Kuznetsova left no doubt that she belonged at the top of the list of young Russian phenoms.
Smoking forehands all over the court, the ninth-seeded Kuznetsova dominated a drained Dementieva to capture her first Grand Slam title, 6-3, 7-5, on Saturday night.
In a game almost entirely played from beyond the baseline, screaming groundstrokes made all of the difference between the U.S. Open champion and the runner-up.
Dementieva seemed to have little left after a marathon win over Jennifer Capriati in the semifinals on Friday, while Kuznetsova's freshness was apparent in the force with which she sent shots back at her countrywoman.
"I have to play powerful tennis because people like it more," Kuznetsova said, while smiling on court after the match.
Kuznetsova slammed 23 forehand winners while her rival could manage just seven total winners in the match.
It was the second time this year that two Russians met in a Grand Slam final. Dementieva was also a part of the first occasion, losing to Anastasia Myskina in the French Open. Maria Sharapova captured the country's second major victory this year, taking the Wimbledon title over Serena Williams.
Using her rocket of a forehand, Kuznetsova kept Dementieva off-balance throughout the match. With a heavy-looking bandage covering most of her upper left thigh, Dementieva seemed just a beat slow and had difficulty catching up to the wicked groundstrokes.
But the most questionable part of Dementieva's game, her serve, held through the first set. Dementieva's first double fault didn't come until she was up a break in the second.
Yet Kuznetsova, Martina Navratilova's former doubles partner, departed from the strategy used by Capriati in her semifinal loss to Dementieva. By attacking her weak serve, Kuznetsova kept up the pressure throughout the match, leading to her opponent's 15 unforced errors.
As soon as Dementieva got two of her three break points -- she was perfect on break chances in the match -- one in the first set and two in the second, Kuznetsova immediately broke back each time, once on a double fault by Dementieva.
Between the pressure by Kuznetsova and Dementieva's injury, the sixth-ranked player didn't ultimately stand a chance, succumbing in less time than it took her to win the third set from Capriati.
During the trophy ceremony after the match, both players brought the focus back to lives lost during the September 11th attacks and the deaths at the school in Beslam, Russia -- for which both players wore black ribbons throughout the tournament. The match had begun after a tribute to the victims of both, including a rendition of the national anthem by Jessye Norman.
After the match, during her on-court interview, Dementieva asked for a second moment of silence to commemorate the events, praising the fight against terrorism. Kuznetsova also dedicated her victory to the terror victims.
"It's a great day to be a tennis player, but also a day to remember," Dementieva said.