Serena and Venus Williams become highest-earning WTA players in 2008

Serena and Venus Williams became the highest-earning female tennis players in 2008, according to the Women’s Tennis Association.

Serena made $3.852 million during the season, whereas Venus earned a little less – $3.747 million.

In 2008, Serena Williams won tennis tournaments in Bangalore, Miami, Charleston, as well as the US Open. Venus became the champion of Wimbledon, the tournament in Zurich and the WTA Tournament.

Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic, who is going to finish 2008 as world’s number one, is ranked third. She earned $3.064 million. Her country-fellow, Ana Ivanovic, follows her with $2.838 million. The list continues with five Russian tennis: Dinara Safina ($2.515), Maria Sharapova ($1.937), Elena Dementieva ($1.920 million), Vera Zvonareva (1.773 million) and Svetlana Kuznetsova ($1.452 million). Russia ’s Nadezhda Petrova takes the 13th position on the list of year’s highest-earning tennis players with $889,23.

Venus Williams rallied to win the WTA's Sony Ericsson Championships for the first time, defeating Vera Zvonareva 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-2 Sunday at the season-ending event.

The Wimbledon champion took command in the last two sets with powerful serving, smashes and aggressive groundstrokes against her Russian opponent.

"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 ninth-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, the AP reports.

"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.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov