Tennis: Serena Williams wins Olympic gold for US after demolishing Russia's Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon

 

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The Independent Online

Barely two months after losing in the first round of a Grand tournament for the first time in her career, Serena Williams today continued the stunning turnaround in her summer by claiming one of the few honours to have eluded her.

In beating Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 here  in the final of the Olympic tournament, Williams became the first woman in history to complete a career “Golden Slam” (the titles at the four major tournaments and the Olympics) in both singles and doubles. Steffi Graf is the only player to have won a calendar-year singles “Golden Slam”,  having swept the board in 1988.

Since losing to Virginie Razzano, the world No 111, in the first round at the French Open, Williams has won 17 matches in succession to win the titles at Wimbledon (her fifth singles triumph at the All England Club), at Stanford in the United States and now here.

The 30-year-old American, who will attempt tomorrow to win her third Olympic doubles titles with her sister Venus, has now won eight matches in a row against Sharapova, who had no answer to her opponent’s power. The Russian was in danger of suffering her first “double bagel” defeat for seven years until she won her only game when 3-0 down in the second set. It was not long before Williams was securing victory after just 63 minutes with her tenth ace.

The Wimbledon champion spent several minutes jumping up and down on the court in celebration and was still doing so during the medal ceremony, in the middle of which the United States flag was blown off its pole.

Williams said: “I was so focused here.  I remember I was serving and I was thinking: ‘Serena, this is your best chance to win a gold medal.  You played Wimbledon on grass.  You played great on grass.  Pull it together.’ I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to do this’.”

Victoria Azarenka, the world No 1 from Belarus, won the bronze medal with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Maria Kirilenko, while the American twins Bob and Mike Bryan took the men’s doubles gold, beating Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6. Another French pair, Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau, took the bronze, beating Spain’s David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez 7-6, 6-2.

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