In a fashion that was stunning in its dominance and brevity, Serena Williams captured the gold medal in women’s singles at the London Olympics Saturday by simply crushing Russia’s Maria Sharapova.
The crowd at the All England club witnessed one of the most dynamic and explosive efforts ever on its legendary grass Centre Court. Sharapova never had a chance.
Not even Williams could have expected to claim her first individual gold – and the second to complete the so-called Golden Slam – in such an overwhelming way. She demoralized Sharapova early with her booming serve and relentless attitude and never let up.
The 6-0, 6-1 score gives some idea of the lopsidedness of the match. But even that does not paint an accurate picture of Williams’ demolition of Sharapova. Perhaps nothing can. It was that commanding of a performance by Williams, who smashed aces that left her opponent flat-footed.
But it was not just her powerful serve that overwhelmed Sharapova. It also was Williams’ shot placement that kept her opponent off balance. And it was her will and determination that were crushing.To get to the gold medal round, Williams had her way with the No. 1 seed, Victoria Azerenka.
Truth be told, she had her way with everyone she faced. She lost only 17 games in her six matches. She went 13-0 this summer at the All England Club, where she won her fifth Wimbledon title a month ago.The career Golden Slam was first achieved by Steffi Graf, won gold in the Olympics in 1988 after winning all four major titles. Williams has14 Grand Slam singles championships, the most of any active woman.
If her efforts in London have not shown that she is at the peak of her game and the rest of the tennis world should be concerned, then nothing will. Just ask Maria Sharapova.