“"I was thinking: 'Serena, this is your best chance to win a gold medal. You're at Wimbledon, you're on grass, you play great on grass, pull it together, just win this.'"”Serena Williams
Serena Williams has capped a remarkably dominant week in the Olympic singles competition by destroying Maria Sharapova 6-0 6-1 in the gold medal match on Saturday in London.
The win gives Williams her first Olympic singles medal of any colour, and has allowed her to complete her career Golden Slam – all four major titles and Olympic singles gold.
Williams dropped just 17 games during the Olympic tennis event, including brutal defeats of former and current world No.1′s Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Sharapova in her final three matches.
“I was so focused here,” Williams revealed.
“I remember I was serving (in the final) and I was thinking: ‘Serena, this is your best chance to win a gold medal. You’re at Wimbledon, you’re on grass, you play great on grass, pull it together, just win this.’ And that’s what I thought about.”
Her focus was evident in her stats – she finished the match with 10 aces, 24 winners and seven errors. Sharapova, known for her power, managed just six winners throughout the 63-minute match.
The win also cements Williams’ dominance over Sharapova in their head-to-head record, which the American now leads 9-2.
The Russian has not defeated Williams since 2004, a year in which she famously won her first major title as a 17-year-old with a stunning defeat of Williams in the Wimbledon final.
Yet over time, Williams has inflicted some of the more demoralising defeats on Sharapova in the Russian’s career. Williams won 6-1 6-2 in the 2007 Australian Open final, 6-1 6-1 in the 2007 Miami fourth round, and a pair of 6-1 6-3 defeats in Stanford 2011 and Madrid 2012.
Sharapova has only taken one set from Williams since 2005.
Later on Saturday, Serena and Venus won through to the women’s doubles gold medal match after defeating Russians Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko.
Azarenka claims bronze medal
Earlier in the day, Victoria Azarenka won the bronze medal for Belarus by defeating Kirilenko 6-3 6-4.
Azarenka was able to shrug off the disappointment of her own demoralising loss to Serena – she was defeated 6-1 6-2 by the American in the semifinals on Friday – to claim victory over Kirilenko in just under one-and-a-half hours.
Azarenka played a slightly tidier match than her opponent, hitting 19 winners to 17 errors and limiting her double faults to just one, compared with four for the Russian.
Thanks to Azarenka’s win and Sharapova’s loss, the Belarusian hangs on to the world No.1 ranking.