Svetlana Kuznetsova admitted she had to battle with her nerves before beating fellow Russian Elena Dementieva in Saturday's US Open final.
Kuznetsova had never been past the last eight of a Grand Slam event before and was stunned by the 23,000 crowd.
"When I played the first game, I thought 'wow, there are so many people out here'," she said.
"This morning I was nervous, I was stiff, but something inside of me was telling me I would be fine."
And Kuznetsova revealed she was motivated by her desire to stand out from the growing number of Russian women at the top of the game.
"I want success," she said. "I want to do something, you know. I really want people to remember my name.
"When I got to 30 in the world I thought, 'I want more than this, I have to do better'. Then I got to 10, but I always want to do better."
Dementieva, who also lost in the French Open final in June, insisted she was happy with victories over Amelie Mauresmo and home favourite Jennifer Capriati.
"I'm not really disappointed about this," said Dementieva.
"It's been a great tournament for me, I beat some great players and had some very tough matches.
"I did everything I could here and feel like I was playing some good tennis. I am satisfied."
And the sixth seed admitted that her desperately unreliable serve is what is holding her back from a first Grand Slam title.
"It's all about my serve," she said. "I really need to have a better serve to win a Grand Slam.
"I mean, by serving like this I can beat a lot of players but when someone has a great return there is nothing I can do with this kind of serve.
"It was never a good shot for me. It was something I really didn't like to practice."