For all Serena Williams has done in her accomplished career, she has not won an Olympic gold medal in singles.
Well, on Thursday, she moved one winning effort from adding that prideful accolade to her portfolio that is brimming with major championships.
In a performance that was startling for its decisiveness, Williams dismantled the Games’ No. 1 seed, Victoria Azarenka, 6-1, 6-2.
And it did not seem that close, really.
Williams, who will play first-time Olympian Maria Sharapova of Russia for the gold medal on Saturday. Sharapova handled teammate Maria Kirilenko, 6-2, 6-3, to advance.
Williams got to the championship round by dismissing Azarenka as she has everyone she has faced to this point. That is, she used her almost blazing serve — clocked as high as 119 miles per hour, faster than most men on tour — and an array of well-placed backhands and powerful forehands that forced errors.
This was exactly what she has done in each match to this point. So far, she has lost just 16 games through five rounds — that’s an average of just three loses per match; unbelievable. She has won 12 straight matches this summer at the All England. That includes here fifth Wimbledon championship here about a month ago.
Sister Venus Williams was cruising, too, until fatigue set in and she fell in the quarterfinals and she fell in straight sets after having substantial leads in each set. But she and Serena play in semifinal doubles match later Thursday with a chance to advance to the gold medal game.
The sisters collaborated in doubles to win the gold medal in 2000 and 2008. They had a chance to clinch at least a silver in a semifinal match scheduled later Friday. Venus has two singles Olympic gold medals in singles.
Serena Williams has won 14 Grand Slam singles championships, the most of any active woman. But she does not have an Olympic singles gold medal. Saturday could be the day she changes that.