from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, defeated this year's champion in Prague and Guangzou, 24-year-old 8th-seeded # 9
from the wife of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Misnad, while the trophy's namesake looks on).
Venus's prize is $1,340,000 (and 750 ranking points); she will finish the year ranked # 6 in the WTA. Vera's prize is $715,000 (and 525 points); she will end the year at # 7, the highest rank of her career.
Vera trailed 1-5 in the 1st set tiebreak, but managed to win seven of the next nine points to take the set.
"[Vera] just kept running everything down and hitting incredible shots. I realized the match wasn't over, though. I was just starting to get my rhythm, and after that I started playing better. I got a lot more consistent and was also controlling the points more. The tables started turning a little bit... I had to go out there and win the match, because she wasn't giving it away."
"I was able to play my game in the first set a little better. In the second and third sets [Venus] started dictating. I didn't use the shots that helped me win the first set, and that gave her opportunities to start dictating. And she started coming up with some great serves when she needed them. That's the way it goes sometimes."
. Vera won the first time they met, in 2003, and Venus won every match since in straight sets—until today.
is now 39-22 in WTA singles finals; she also won at Zurich and Wimbledon this year. Venus has a 40-11 match record in 2008.
is now 7-11 in WTA singles finals; in addition to her two titles this year, she reached the finals at Linz, Moscow, Hobart, Doha, and Charleston. Vera has a 65-17 match record for the season.
WTA SCOREBOARD: WTA Championships
s=seed, #=rank, *=upset, LL=lucky loser|
ranks are for the week of Nov 6
WTA Championships, Doha, Qatar
Centre court at Khalifa Tennis Complex holds 4,106 spectators. For the 15th Asian Games in December 2006, eight new training courts were built. More expansion was planned for the 2008 and 2009 WTA Championships.
2008: Elena Dementieva was interviewed upon arrival at Doha International Airport on Friday, October 31... On Sunday, November 2, #1 Jelena Jankovic arrived at the Pearl Conference Center in Doha for the draw ceremony, then stepped into the lineup with Dinara Safina, Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Venus Williams, and Vera Zvonareva... row 2: On Monday, Nov 3, Serena, Ana, Vera, Dinara, Elena and Venus played Meet the Press and signed posters at the Ritz Carlton Hotel...
2008: row 3: Elena and Ana played an exhibition on Sunday, November 2, on a desert island court put up for that purpose... On Thursday, November 6, all four doubles teams attended the doubles draw: Liezel Huber & Cara Black, Virginia Ruano Pascual & Anabel Medina Garrigues, Rennae Stubbs & Kveta Peschke, and Katarina Srebotnik & Ai Sugiyama...|
2008: row 4: Ai Sugiyama signed autographs on doubles draw day... Ladies looking good at the year-end players party on Saturday, November 8, included Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Ana Ivanovic, row 5: as well as all four doubles pairs: Liezel Huber & Cara Black, Anabel Medina Garrigues & Virginia Ruano Pascual, Ai Sugiyama & Katarina Srebotnik, and Kveta Peschke & Rennae Stubbs...|
Doha WTA Champ's round robin, Tue 5pm
#1 Jelena Jankovic SRB d #4 Ana Ivanovic SRB 6-3, 6-4 career matches: Ana leads 6-2, Ana won prior meeting
Jelena serving, Ana following a backhand, and Jelena reaching for a forehand
It was a very big win for Jelena, who had trailed Ana 1-6 in career matches. Jelena lost to Ana twice earlier this year, and three times in 2007.|
Jelena said: "I've had so many tough matches against Ana, but I was able to be strong today and very focused from the beginning of the match... My game has improved so much, I've been working hard and I also haven't had injuires." WTA story
Ana said: "This loss is disappointing, because I felt I was playing better and better recently. I think I went for a little bit too much at times today."
*#8 Venus Williams USA d #2 Dinara Safina RUS 7-5, 6-3 career matches: Venus leads 2-0
Venus serving, and Dinara and Venus driving forehands
Dinara led 4-1 and 5-2 in the 1st set. Venus said: "When I was down 5-2, I thought, 'If I lose this set, it's got to be at least 6-4.' I took it from there that I don't give any set away easily. I took the attitude of trying to get some more balls in play but still be aggressive. I just started playing better tennis - playing the ball and enjoying myself. There were some tough games, but they kept going my way. I was very excited about that." WTA story|
*#9 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #7 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS 6-2, 6-3 career matches: Svetlana leads 7-4, Vera won prior meeting
Vera and Sveta driving backhands, and Vera fielding a forehand on the fly
Gusty winds affected play. Vera said: "The conditions are very difficult, especially since we were playing indoors for the past two months... Svetlana is a tough, tough opponent, so I'm very glad about the way I played today." BBC story - WTA story|
Svetlana said: "I'm not the kind of player that's going to say I lost because of the wind or the court. I think I just didn't play well enough, and [Vera] played better at some key moments. I'll have another chance to win tomorrow and I take positivity in that."
The Day One straight-set wins by Jelena, Venus and Vera (and losses by Ana, Dinara and Svetlana) might be important by the end of the week. Percentage of sets won is the first tiebreaker used in the event of a 3-way tie when determining which two players from each round robin group proceed to the semifinals. That tiebreaker was invoked in the 2004 WTA Championships, when Anastasia Myskina, Serena Williams, and Lindsay Davenport were all 2-1 after the round robin.
Doha WTA Champ's round robin, Wed 5pm
*#3 Serena Williams USA d #2 Dinara Safina RUS 6-4, 6-1 career matches: Serena leads 5-1, Serena won prior meeting
Serena serving, Dinara driving a backhand, Serena following one, and after match point
Serena said: "It was definitely a very fast-paced match; there were lots of winners and not too many long rallies. To win in straight sets will definitely help me in my match tomorrow against Venus. She obviously wants to win every match." WTA story|
*#9 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #4 Ana Ivanovic SRB 6-3, 6(7)-5, 6-4 career matches: Ana leads 4-3, Ana won prior meeting
Vera serving, Ana's backhand drive, Vera driving a forehand, and after match point
The win made it very likely that Vera, now atop the White Group at 2-0, will qualify for Saturday's semifinals, while leaving Ana almost no chance of advancing.|
Vera said: "Ana is a fighter, she never gives up. So I had to concentrate on myself at the end of that match, think about my game and not think about what was going on on the other side. I did that well." WTA story
It was the second day in a row that Ana, who has been recovering from recent illness, has felt dizzy while playing. Ana said: "It was very hard for me to breathe, and I was struggling. I was feeling very dizzy and light headed. So it was very tough. I couldn't eat much for the last couple of days and with the lack of energy, it was a little bit hard.
"It was very disappointing, but I still gave hundred percent in this match, and [Vera] was the better player. I need a miracle to qualify now." BBC story
*#8 Venus Williams USA d #5 Elena Dementieva RUS 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 career matches: Venus leads 7-2, Venus won prior meeting
Venus about to connect with a forehand, and Elena and Venus driving backhands
Elena said: "I was not satisfied with the way I was playing today. I think I was a little bit too nervous playing my first match here at the Championships. It's very tough to play your first match against such a big champion. I think [Venus] played really well yesterday, and she was in good shape today. I feel I had so many chances, and couldn't make it." WTA story|
The victory placed Venus atop the Maroon Group at 2-0, and dropped Elena to 0-1. On Friday Venus will play her sister, #3 Serena Williams, while Elena will play #2 Dinara Safina.
If Dinara (already with 2 losses) defeats Elena (who has 1 prior loss), and Serena defeats Venus, then the Williams sisters will both qualify for Saturday's quarterfinals. Venus should be highly motivated to win to avoid any suggestions that she threw it to help her sister into the semis. To minimize any such suggestions, Serena and Venus will be playing before Dinara and Elena on Friday.
Doha WTA Champ's round robin, Thu 5pm
#1 Jelena Jankovic SRB d #7 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS 7-6(6), 6-4 career matches: tied 4-4, Jelena won prior meeting
Jelena and Svetlana driving backhands, Jelena watching her drop shot fly, and after winning a point
The victory clinched a postition in Saturday's semifinals for Jelena, and also clinched the other White Group SF place for # 9 Vera Zvonareva.|
Jelena, who called for the trainer early in the 2nd set on Thursday due to low back pain, said she hopes to be able to play on Friday (in the event of a walkover, Jelena would still advance to the semis). Jelena said: "[My back] started being stiff at the end of the first set. In the second set I took a lot of pace off my ball, which allowed [Svetlana] to step in the court and start hitting some of her shots. But then at the end of the second set I was able to focus a little bit more and push myself, and finish in two sets... I want to do well here. I will receive some treatment and hopefully I'll be ok for the match [on Friday]." WTA story - BBC story
Svetlana said: "I'm more positive after this match, definitely than after the first match. I think I had many chances. First set, second set. But I played better, and this is the most important thing. I think I missed some determination in the important moments, but I'll work on it."
*#5 Elena Dementieva RUS d #2 Dinara Safina RUS 6-2, 6-4 career matches: Dinara leads 5-4, Elena won prior meeting
Elena serving, Dinara and Elena driving forehand and backhand, and Elena after match point
Elena said: "Dinara's a really competitive player, and every time she's on the court she's fighting, so it's never easy to play her. Even though I beat her the last time we played at the Olympics, I was expecting a tough match. I never expect an easy match against her. We had a big fight in the second set." WTA story|
*#8 Venus Williams USA d #3 Serena Williams USA 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 career matches: tied 9-9, Serena won prior meeting
Venus serving to Serena, Serena serving to Venus, Venus driving a forehand, and after match point
Venus said: "I think I started playing well in the second set. Serving a lot better, and then that first game in the third was really long. But after that, I think [Serena] started to get a little more impatient, a little more upset with her performance. She just started to play faster and faster; when the other person keeps bringing it back, it just starts a domino effect with her." WTA story|
It was the first time that either Williams sister has served the other a bagel in WTA play. Serena said: "It just kind of fell apart, and I couldn't keep more than two balls over the net before I made an error."
The win guaranteed a place for Venus in Saturday's semifinals, and dropped Serena to 1-1 in the round robin. On Friday Serena was to play 5th-seeded # 5 Elena Dementieva, who is also at 1-1, to complete the Maroon Group round robin, with the winner taking the remaining position in the semis.
However, Serena withdrew from the tourney on Friday due to an abdominal injury, giving the remaining place in the semifinals to Elena. Serena said: "I had zero pain last night. But I didn't serve well and I think that's why I was doing that. I might have been over-compensating. When I got home I didn't feel pain but when I woke up I was in pain. I have had this before and so when I felt this it was like a red flag. I went to see how I felt in practice yesterday, and it was hard when I was hitting ground strokes. I didn't want to risk it." BBC story
Doha WTA Champ's round robin, Fri 5pm
*#9 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #1 Jelena Jankovic SRB 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 career matches: Jelena leads 6-4, Jelena won prior meeting
Vera and Jelena driving backhands, Vera following a flying forehand, and after match point
The victory gave Vera, undefeated in the round robin, the 1st place finish in the White Group, with Jelena, 2-1 in the round robin, finishing second.|
Jelena said: "I was playing very well in the first set, but then I completely let my opponent play her game. I didn't serve very well and I didn't return very well, and Vera can rally all day long without making many mistakes. If you get involved in her game, you're done, and that's what I did today. I let her come back into the match." WTA story
Vera said: "It feels great, of course. I worked hard to get into these Championships, and I'm really happy to be here and to play against the eight best players in the world. And it's great that I was able to come up with some good tennis."
#5 Elena Dementieva RUS d #3 Serena Williams USA walkover—abdominal injury
career matches: Serena leads 4-2, Elena won prior meeting
#7 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS d #4 Ana Ivanovic SRB walkover—illness career matches: Ana leads 5-1, Ana won prior meeting
Ana Ivanovic withdrew from the WTA Championships on Friday due to the illness which has troubled her all week. Ana was to play Svetlana Kuznetsova on Friday for prize money and ranking points (both players had already failed to reach the semifinals).|
Ana said: "The other night was a very intensive and long match [against Vera Zvonareva] and I started to feel actually worse. So, yesterday, I didn't feel good, and today even worse. I tried to hit actually yesterday. I was on the court for about 10 minutes, and as long as I didn't move it was OK. But if I try to hit a little bit harder or to move on the side, it was impossible to do."
Doha WTA Champ's substitute matches, Fri 5pm
#5 Elena Dementieva RUS d #11 Nadia Petrova RUS 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Elena tossing the ball for her serve, and Nadia and Elena driving backhands
Elena said: "I expected a very tough match today against Serena, because it was an exciting match for both of us and I was ready to play her. I just feel sorry for her that she's injured and couldn't come on the court. I mean, it's not the way I wanted to get to the semifinals. I know how it feels to be injured...|
"For me, emotionally, it was difficult to refocus and play against Nadia, knowing already that I was in the semifinals. But I didn't want to lose the momentum. I mean, [former #3 ] Nadia's a Top 10 player. I think she came on the court very relaxed, enjoying the moment, enjoying the chance to play in the Championships. So it was a tough match." WTA story
*#10 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d #7 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS 6-2, 7-5
alternates prizes: $50,000
RR no wins prizes: $100,000 US; points: 105 - RR 1 win prizes: $200,000 US; points: 185
RR 2 wins prizes: $300,000 US; points: 265 - RR 3 wins prizes: $400,000 US; points: 345
Doha WTA Championships, SFs, Sat WTA story
#8 Venus Williams USA d #1 Jelena Jankovic SRB 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 career matches: Jelena leads 5-4, Jelena won prior meeting
Venus serving to Jelena, Jelena and Venus driving backhands, and Venus after match point
Venus said: "What got me through the match was just being consistent at the right times. My game is about being aggressive and taking chances, but what I really needed to do today was put a lot more balls in play and be a little smarter. I played a little more defensively that I usually do, but it was worth it."|
Despite the loss, Jelena will finish the season holding the # 1 ranking, only the 9th player to do so since "computer rankings" began in the 1970s. Jelena said: "I can go to vacation with a smile on my face. It will be really weird not to have my rackets with me." AP story
#9 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #5 Elena Dementieva RUS 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3 career matches: Elena leads 4-2, Elena won prior meeting
Vera serving to Elena, Elena driving a backhand, Vera's forehand drive, and after match point
Vera said: "I've always had tough matches against Elena; she's a great fighter, so I knew I had to fight until the last point. I've been playing against Top 10 players every day here. In every match I've had to play my best from start to finish. It's a great achievement for me to win all of my matches so far."|
Elena said: "I had such a great chance to win the first set, and then maybe finish in two sets. After losing the first set it was difficult to stay focused and try to fight, because she started playing with even more confidence. It was just a tough match, and I couldn't come back in the end. Vera played a great match."
Doha WTA Championships, Final, Sun 5:30pm+
loser's prize: RR prize + $315,000 US; points: RR points + 180
winner's prize: RR prize + $940,000 US; points: RR points + 405
#8 Venus Williams USA d #9 Vera Zvonareva RUS 6(7)-5, 6-0, 6-2 career matches: Venus leads 6-1, Venus won prior meeting
Venus serving, Vera driving a forehand, Venus driving a backhand, and after match point
Doha WTA Championships, Doubles SFs, Sat 1pm|
loser's prize: $93,750
cdr2 Cara Black & Liezel Huber d cdr11 Virginia Ruano Pascual & Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-1, 6-3
*cdr17 Kveta Peschke & Rennae Stubbs d cdr7 Ai Sugiyama & Katarina Srebotnik 6-3, 2-6, (10-4)
Doha WTA Championships, Doubles Final, Sun 3pm
loser's prize: $187,500
winner's prize: $375,000
cdr2 Cara Black & Liezel Huber d cdr17 Kveta Peschke & Rennae Stubbs 6-1, 7-5
Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Misnad, the wife of the Emir of Qatar,
with Cara (46th WTA doubles title) & Liezel (34th title) after the trophy presentation
due to a torn right shoulder rotator cuff tendon. On her
"I've been progressing really well, but the recovery is taking a lot longer than I had selfishly planned. Therefore, my team and I decided to `shut it down' for the season."
Link to many postmatch interview & match highlight videos of WTA players at the
: the current top 20 Women's Tennis rankings with player photos, links, and bio info.