“I’m so excited,” Williams said. “That was a hard-fought match, every point, right down to the end.”Williams won $1.34 million at the event, which for the first time offered the same prize money as the men at the ATP’s season-ending Masters Cup.
The first lady of Qatar, a conservative Muslim sheikdom, presented the trophy to Williams, shaking her hand and kissing her on both cheeks. Sheika Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned wore a traditional black head scarf and robe.
“Thanks to your Royal Highness for coming. Wow!” Williams said.Such a public appearance by a ruler’s wife is unusual in the region. Mozah might be one of several wives; many emirs and kings in the Gulf have multiple wives—up to the four permitted by Islam.
Billie Jean King sat with Mozah and other dignitaries during the match and joined Williams on the court for the awards ceremony.
The trophy is named for King. Williams’ ranking will improve to no. 6 from no. 8, while the 9th-ranked Zvonareva also will move up two spots.
The two were the lowest-ranked players at the event, which featured the top eight players in the world.
“I know I can go higher” in the rankings, said the 28-year-old Williams, a former No. 1 who defeated top-ranked Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals.Williams qualified for the championships for the eighth time since 1998.
She had reached the semifinals twice and withdrew five times because of injuries and illness.
“It was missing, this one,” Williams said of the WTA Championships title.She has won 39 tour singles titles, including five Wimbledon and two U.S. Open crowns.
Williams’ career earnings rose to $21.9 million.
In doubles, Cara Black and Liezel Huber defeated Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs 6-1, 7-5.
(Via AP, Images via Yahoo! Sport)