Elena Dementieva has announced her retirement from tennis after bowing out of the WTA Championships in Doha.
The emotional Russian addressed the crowd following her 6-4 6-2 defeat to Francesca Schiavone, and, with her fellow players looking on, called time on a successful career that began 12 years ago.
The popular 29-year-old had her best season on the tour in 2004, when she reached the final at both the French and US Opens, however a Grand Slam title continued to elude her.
But Dementieva - who once reached number three in the rankings - arguably enjoyed her finest moment away from the tour when she clinched Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008.
"I would to thank all the players for an amazing experience and some wonderful memories," she said. "It's very emotional.
"I would like to thank all the people round the world that have supported me throughout my career and especially my fan club, you were always there for me.
"No matter winning or losing, I could always feel your support so thank you for your devotion. It's emotional saying goodbye to all of you. I will miss you."
Compatriot Vera Zvonareva took the microphone to thank Dementieva for her contribution to the sport.
"I think I just wanted to say thank you, Russia is proud of you, proud to have you," she said.
"What you've done for tennis in Russia, you've been a great inspiration, a role model for all the young kids for the past 10 years.
"You've done so much not only for Russian tennis, but for Russian sport."
Dementieva gave everything in her final group match against the current French Open champion, but a second break of serve in the 10th game handed Schiavone the first.
The Italian then raced into a 5-1 lead in the second set and although the Russian got a break back to keep her slim hopes alive, a dreadful service game typical of one that punctuated her career gifted her opponent the match.
Victory for Schiavone was merely consolation after defeats in her first two matches.
Zvonareva wins again
Moments after bidding farewell to Dementieva, Zvonareva was back on court to face three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters.
And the Russian, who was beaten by Clijsters in this year's final at Flushing Meadows, recorded a 6-4 7-5 victory to ensure that she will end the year ranked second in the world.
Zvonareva also became the only player to progress from the round robin stage unbeaten as she produced a powerful performance to top the White Group.
However, her reward is a semi-final meeting with world number one Caroline Wozniacki, who finished second in the Maroon Group.
Clijsters will go on to face French Open finalist Samantha Stosur for a place in the final.
In the final match on Friday evening, Victoria Azarenka salvaged some pride by seeing off a struggling Jelena Jankovic 6-4 6-1 to grab a consolation win.
Both players had already seen their hopes of a spot of a place in the semi-finals slip away but Azarenka made sure that she did not leave Doha having lost every match.