Venus Williams and Vera Zvonareva, the two lowest seeds at the 2008 WTA Tour Championships, met in the final.
In 2008, Williams won the Zurich Open to clinch a spot in the season-ending WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar. Seeded seventh at the tournament, Williams went undefeated in the round-robin stage, beating Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva and Serena Williams to reach the semifinals. There, she took out the top seed, Jelena Jankovic, to reach her first year-end final.
Her final-round opponent would be the tournament’s last qualifier, Vera Zvonareva. In a push to make the field, Zvonareva played every week after the US Open, winning in Guangzhou, China, and reaching the final in Moscow and Linz. In her round-robin grouping, she also went undefeated, and beat her countrywoman Dementieva in the semis to reach the championship match.
In the first set, Williams got into trouble early on. Zvonareva recorded a break in the second game, and quickly got to a 5-2 lead. The Russian had an opportunity to serve out the set at 5-3, but missed out on four set points. Williams managed to push the set into a tiebreak and went up 5-1. Serving at 5-4, Williams dropped the next two points to give Zvonareva another set point. At 6-5, Zvonareva hit a backhand that clipped the net and dropped over out of Williams’ reach, giving her the first set.
In the second set, though, both players went in opposite directions, with Williams surging and Zvonareva seemingly deflated. The set went to Williams, 6-0.
In the decider, Williams’ kept up the pressure early, breaking to take a 2-0 lead. Zvonareva recovered to break right back, but once again dropped serve. At 5-2, Williams broke her opponent’s serve to clinch her first year-end crown.
Zvonareva became the second Russian in the history of the tournament to make the final. The first was Maria Sharapova, who won in 2004 and reached the final in 2007.
By going undefeated and winning more than $1.3 million, Williams passed Martina Navratilova for fourth-place on the all-time money list for women.
This was Zvonareva’s eighth final of the year, more than any other player at the year-end event.
Against 12 losses, Williams had 15 wins against the players in her group, with the bulk of the wins and losses coming against her sister.
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