Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Hungarian teenager Agnes Szavay 6-1 6-4 to reach the US Open semi-finals on Wednesday and believes she is a better player than when she won the title in 2004.
The Russian was too consistent for the 18-year-old Szavay, who was appearing in her first grand-slam quarter-final, easing to victory in 67 minutes to set up a clash with her compatriot and sixth seed Anna Chakvetadze.
When Kuznetsova won the title three years ago, she was a little-known 19-year-old upsetting the odds.
She is a much more experienced player now and although this will be only her third grand-slam semi-final, the Russian is in confident mood.
"Everybody will compare how I feel now and 2004, and it's different," she told reporters.
"It was something like, OK, maybe I win, maybe not. Now I know I'm here and I'm here to do my best and I have all chances to win if I play my game.
"This (puts) you under a little bit of pressure, but also your expectation is higher and you know your value more.
"I know I have grown as a person and as a player. I can see it in the matches. It really motivates me a lot to do what I'm doing, and I really enjoy playing tennis."
Szavay, who had to retire with a back injury after taking the first set off Kuznetsova in the New Haven event final just before the U.S. Open, looked nervous early in the match.
Kuznetsova took the first set in 26 minutes and broke in the first game of the second. Though Szavay lifted her game, the Russian held on to reach the semi-finals for the first time since her 2004 win.
Szavay thinks Kuznetsova has a great chance of winning the title.
"She's playing really, really good now," Szavay said. "She has a good chance to be in the final I guess. She has everything, serves good. Big, big forehand and backhand also good. She's tough mentally, so I think she has good chances in this tournament."