The seven-time Grand Slam champion finally got her hands on the elusive year-ending title

Venus secures first Championship crown



Originally published on 26/02/10 11:20

Venus Williams claimed her first Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha after battling to a three-set win over the tournament’s surprise package Vera Zvonareva 6-7(5) 6-0 6-2.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion dropped the first set in a tie-break before dominating the second and third sets with powerful groundstrokes to eventually wrap up the win in just over two hours.

“It’s fantastic to end the season this way,” Williams said. “I’ve never really had the opportunity to play this tournament very often so it’s really awesome to have that opportunity and to play well.”

Credit is due for Zvonareva, who raced off to a great start, opening with a confident service hold before securing an early break in just the second game when Williams hit a sloppy backhand into the net.

The Russian had the opportunity to serve out the first set in game nine, and quickly earned herself three set points. But Williams saved all three – and a fourth at deuce – with some aggressive play.

“It’s fantastic to end the season this way” – Williams

Williams raced out to a 5-1 lead in the first set tie-break, but Zvonareva worked her way back to 5-5 with a couple of huge first serves before being gifted another set point when Williams slammed down her third double fault.

The was no mistake from Zvonareva this time and she clinched the set at her fifth attempt, albeit with a stroke of luck as her backhand across court hit the bottom of the tape and dropped over.

Williams emerged a different prospect at the start of the second set. Zvonareva was completely unable even to stick with her and the American broke three times in succession, claiming the set with a huge forehand winner on her first set point.

Zvonareva was left lying on the floor on the verge of tears, exhausted after a gruelling few weeks…

Williams made it eight games on the bounce before Zvonareva finally troubled the scorers again, breaking back with a delicate drop shot that a tiring Williams could not get up and over the net. But the Russian was immediately broken again, a game that ended with her lying on the floor on the verge of tears, exhausted after a gruelling few weeks.

The Russian rallied briefly to hold serve in the sixth game but was rapidly running out of steam and could not cope as Williams upped the power hitting yet again. She wrapped up the title at the first attempt, following up a huge return of serve with a ferocious forehand winner into the open court.

Zvonareva, the lowest-ranked player to qualify for the Championships, said she was happy to have claimed four wins over higher ranked opponents during the week, but found Williams just too strong.

“She came up with some great serves when she needed. It was tough on me,” the Russian said. “Maybe I didn’t use those shots that helped me to win the first set. I didn’t use them in the second and third as much so it gave her a little bit more opportunity to dictate the game.”

Earlier in the doubles final, Cara Black and Liezel Huber cemented their position as the world’s No.1 doubles pair after beating Rennae Stubbs and Kveta Pesche 6-1 7-5.

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