Tattooed Kuznetsova aims to silence detractors

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Inked onto the left arm of 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is a lengthy tattoo in Russian that translates as “only God is our judge.”

The tattoo, which the Russian number 11 seed has had since her second round loss at Indian Wells in March, is a message to critics who have judged her fluctuating performance this year.

While Kuznetsova admits that she is neither at the peak of her powers or fitness at a scorching hot U.S. Open, she feels she could upset the top seeds at Flushing Meadows.

“If I have a good day then I can beat anybody but the question is how many good days can I have,” said Kuznetsova, who was a runner-up in New York in 2007.

“I’m playing better than at the start of the season and I like the way things are right now - there’s no pressure on me and I just have to do my best.”

Kuznetsova lacked sharpness in her first round match and needed three sets to dispatch 39-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm.

But on Thursday she lost just five games against Latvian Anastasija Sevastova and now believes she could make it to a third U.S. Open final.

The 25-year-old claims to have not even looked at her half of the draw, which could yet result in a quarter-final showdown against number one seed Caroline Wozniacki.

The pair met recently in Montreal where Kuznetsova lost heavily in the semi-finals but she is relishing the chance to face the Dane again.

“I don’t think about who is the favorite and who is not,” said Kuznetsova. “But I feel I have a better chance against her every time.

Editing by Frank Pingue