NEW YORK -- Fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova struggled into the U.S. Open final after claiming an error-filled 3-6 6-1 6-1 victory over fellow-Russian Anna Chakvetadze.
Kuznetsova reached her second U.S. Open final despite making 35 unforced errors.
Kuznetsova, the 2004 champion, will play the winner of the later semi-final between world number one Justine Henin and Wimbledon champion Venus Williams.
"It was extremely tough," Kuznetsova said. "I played the worst first set. I couldn't put the ball in. I was really embarrassed."
Neither player could overcome nerves and windy conditions. Chakvetadze, playing in her first Grand Slam semi, made 46 unforced errors, 20 of them in the last set. Kuznetsova had 35 unforced errors but just 10 in the last set.
Despite the horror show, Kuznetsova will advance to a career-best second in the rankings, edging past Maria Sharapova to became the highest-ranked Russian player, and Chakvetadze will break into the world top five for the first time.
Kuznetsova was all over the place in the opening set, making 21 unforced errors, but Chakvetadze returned the favor with 17 unforced bungles of her own to surrender the second.
Chakvetadze, a perfect 6-0 in career finals, made only one winner in the first set and then lost 12 of the last 14 games.
Kuznetsova won the first three points of the last set, prompting Chakvetadze to throw her racket. After that, Kuznetsova fell apart, losing seven of the next eight points to surrender a service break.
But Chakvetadze allowed Kuznetsova to break back and later swatted her 10th unforced error of the set, a wide forehand, to give Kuznetsova a 3-1 edge.
Kuznetsova held and broke again for a 5-1 edge and ended matters after 96 minutes. E-mail to a friend