Elena Dementieva ended home favourite Jennifer Capriati's US Open dream on Friday to set up an all-Russian final against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Dementieva won 6-0 2-6 7-6 (7-5) to reach a second Grand Slam final, after her French Open loss to Ana Myskina.
Capriati, looking to reach her first US Open final, dropped the first seven games but recovered in the second set.
In a nervous final set Dementieva held on despite some woeful serving, claiming victory in the tie-break.
"It's not easy to play Jennifer in New York," said Dementieva afterwards. "It was a tough match, but you know I don't like to give up."
Dementieva raced through the opening set for the loss of just five points, despite delivering her now customary variety of double faults and desperately weak serves.
After losing seven straight games Capriati finally got a grip of herself and set about attacking the Russian's serve.
She levelled with a comfortable second set and seemingly held the edge in a nervous decider.
As both players struggled to hold serve the crucial moment seemed to come when Capriati broke in game 11, but the American failed to serve out.
Having twice lost US Open semi-finals in third set tie-breaks Capriati could be excused some nerves, and it was Dementieva who took control.
The Russian attacked on the returns and moved to match point with a forehand down the line, closing out with a backhand winner.
"I got back into it and I knew she was a fighter and wasn't going to give up," said Capriati.
"When I came back I felt like I had the edge. It was just a matter of a few points here and there. Maybe I should have waited for her to make a few more errors."
Dementieva's win guarantees a third consecutive Russian Grand Slam victor, following Myskina in Paris and Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon.