The 19-year-old Maleeva finally secured her third career title on her fifth match point to emulate her elder sister, Manuela, now retired, who beat Martina Navratilova in last year's final.
Zvereva fought back strongly after dropping the first set in 47 minutes but failed to maintain her momentum in the third set. Maleeva served for the title at 5-3 but a succession of forehand passes and two-fisted backhands from Zvereva delayed her celebrations.
'This is the happiest day of my life,' Maleeva said. 'I have to thank my coach, who is also my sister Manuela's husband, for making this win possible.'
Britain won its second straight Maureen Connolly Challenge Cup on Saturday when Shirli-Ann Siddall beat Anne Miller, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.
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