NEWS RELEASE
November 8, 2004

SERENA WILLIAMS AND VERA ZVONAREVA SURVIVE WILD RACE FOR FINAL SPOTS IN WTA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Williams and Zvonareva round out marquee field for coveted season-ending event at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles; singles winner to receive $1 million and a Porsche to be donated to charity

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - In a frantic chase during the final week of the WTA Tour regular season, Serena Williams and Vera Zvonareva earned the final two spots in the prestigious WTA Tour Championships presented by Porsche, adding more marquee value to an already star-studded field competing November 10-15 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Williams, who entered the week eighth in the latest Porsche Race to the Championships standings with 2,597 points, earned a place in the Championships field when contender Venus Williams lost in the Advanta Championships quarterfinals on Friday in Philadelphia, PA, ensuring that Serena will finish no lower than ninth in the final standings to be released Monday. The ninth-placed finisher qualifies for the eight-player singles field this year because sixth-placed Justine Henin-Hardenne has withdrawn from the event due to a continuing illness.

Zvonareva, who began the week 11th in the Race standings, clinched her spot with her quarterfinal victory Friday over Jennifer Capriati in the Advanta Championships, giving her 2,447 points going into Saturday - 47 more points than ninth-place Venus (2,400) and 88 points more than 10th-place Capriati (2,359).

Despite being limited by minor injuries, Serena Williams, 23, has performed exceptionally well this season, compiling a 36-7 match record and winning two titles (the NASDAQ-100 Open and the China Open), in addition to reaching the Wimbledon final.

Likewise, Zvonareva, 20, has made the most of her opportunities this year. In fact, Zvonareva, one of many Russian stars who have dominated women’s tennis this season, is having the best year of her budding career. She has a match record of 50-23 and won the Kroger St. Jude title in Memphis, TN, as well as appeared in nine Tour semifinals, including this week’s Advanta Championships.

Serena and Zvonareva join a Championships field that includes World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, recent World No.1 Amélie Mauresmo and two-time Grand Slam finalist Elena Dementieva.

This will be Serena’s third appearance in the WTA Tour Championships. She won the Championships crown in 2001 and reached the final in 2002. Zvonareva will be making her Championships debut after serving as a singles alternate at last year’s event.

The top eight singles players and the top four doubles teams in the final Porsche Race to the Championships standings qualify for the prestigious Championships. The Championships singles winner will earn $1 million in prize money and a Porsche to donate to their favorite charity.



The following are the eight singles players who will compete in the WTA Tour Championships presented by Porsche:

Player Country
Lindsay Davenport
USA
Amelie Mauresmo
FRA
Anastasia Myskina
RUS
Svetlana Kuznetsova
RUS
Elena Dementieva
RUS
Maria Sharapova
RUS
Serena Williams
USA
Verz Zvonareva
RUS

The following are the four doubles teams that will compete in the WTA Tour Championships:

Team Country
Ruano Pascual / Suarez
ESP/ARG
Black / Stubbs
ZIM/AUS
Kuznetsova / Likhovtseva
RUS/RUS
Petrova / Shaughnessy
RUS/USA


***

The WTA Tour Championships presented by Porsche is the largest and most lucrative women-only sporting event in the world and dates back to 1972. The top eight singles players and top four doubles teams in the Porsche Race to the Championships standings on Monday, November 8 will qualify for the season-ending tournament. The singles winner receives a record-tying $1 million, equaling the largest winner’s check in women’s sports.

Former champions include all-time greats Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Tracy Austin, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Gabriela Sabatini, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams. Kim Clijsters stands as the two-time defending champion. The Porsche Race to the Championships standings are updated weekly and posted on the WTA Tour’s website, www.wtatour.com

General tournament and ticket information is available on the WTA Tour Championships Web site at www.wtachamps.com or at 1-866-WTA-CHAMP) 1-866-982-2426)

The WTA Tour is the world's premier professional sport for women with more than 1,100 players representing 76 nations competing for more than $58 million in prize money at the Tour's 59 events in 29 countries, as well as the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. More than four million people attended women's tennis events in 2003 with millions more watching events on television networks around the world. The WTA Tour season concludes with the WTA Tour Championships presented by Porsche at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California, November 10-15, 2004. Further information on the Tour can be found on the Internet at www.wtatour.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Darrell Fry, WTA Tour, +1.727.515.1709, dfry@wtatour.com
Amy Binder, WTA Tour, +1.727.502.1234, abinder@wtatour.com
Michael roth, STAPLES CENTER, +1.213.742.7155, mroth@staplescenter.com