London 2012 / Tennis / Serena Williams beats Sharapova for gold
American tennis player wins most lopsided women's final in Olympic history by beating Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1.
WIMBLEDON, England - Serena Williams became only the second woman to achieve a Golden Slam on Saturday, winning the most lopsided women's final in Olympic history by beating Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1.
When Williams completed her career Golden Slam, she began the celebration with a long scream. She hopped a dozen times on the grass she loves, waved to the cheering crowd and hopped some more.
Williams was still jumping about as she put on her Team USA jacket for the medal ceremony. Then she began to dance. These days, no one can match her moves.
The victory completed a remarkable run of domination by the No. 4-seeded Williams, who lost only 17 games in six matches en route to her first singles gold medal. She went 13-0 this summer at the All England Club, where she won her fifth Wimbledon title a month ago.
It took the No. 3-seeded Sharapova 45 minutes to win a game, and by then she trailed 6-0, 3-0. Williams dominated with her serve and repeatedly blasted winners from the baseline, taking a big swing with almost every stroke despite gusty conditions on Centre Court.
The wind was so strong it blew the U.S. flag off its pole during the medal ceremony. Old Glory came to rest in front of the Royal Box.
"It was probably flying to come hug me because the flag was so happy," Williams said.
The career Golden Slam was first achieved by Steffi Graf, who did it when she won at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 after sweeping all four major titles. "Growing up watching her, I always liked her," Williams said. "Having a chance to be mentioned in the same [breath] - I always thought, OK, one person I'll never be mentioned in the same [breath with] is Steffi Graf. She's done everything."
Williams can add the gold medal to her 14 Grand Slam singles championships, the most of any active woman. And she's not done in London. Williams and her sister Venus, pursuing their third gold in doubles, were scheduled to play in the semifinals later Saturday.
Serena is the first player to achieve a Golden Slam in both singles and doubles.
When Sharapova wasn't lunging or whiffing as the ball whizzed past, she was caught off-balance trying to block back shots at her feet. Williams finished with 10 aces, 24 winners and only seven unforced errors.
Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus won the bronze by beating No. 14-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6-3, 6-4. Sharapova's loss allowed Azarenka to retain the No. 1 ranking.
Top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan won Olympic gold in the men's doubles yesterday, beating Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 7-6 (2 ). The American twin brothers, who have won 11 Grand Slam doubles titles, won a bronze medal in Beijing in 2008. First-time Olympians Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau of France won the bronze medal by beating David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-6 (4 ), 6-2.
Murray prepares for two Olympic finals
Before a big final, it is customary to take things easy, get yourself mentally prepared and conserve your energy. For Andy Murray, his preparations for the gold medal match against Roger Federer involved playing two mixed doubles matches - winning both - to give himself a chance of double glory.
"It's very different preparation, but this is the Olympics," Murray said after reaching the mixed final alongside teenager Laura Robson for Great Britain.
"I wouldn't prepare like this for a slam final but it's the Olympics. I was fine to play two mixed matches today and have no problem playing five sets tomorrow."
Federer, who beat Murray in the men's final at Wimbledon just a month ago, enjoyed a relaxing day with a light practice.
Murray could have been forgiven if he decided to take it easy in the mixed, but with Robson playing well, he gave it 100 percent and got his just rewards.
"For me, both matches are very important," he said. "I'd love to win two golds. I'd obviously prefer one gold than two silvers. I'm sure tomorrow will be a great day.
"In tennis, we're used to thinking that next week we have another chance. With the Olympics, you're not guaranteed another chance.
"I'm sure if I won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon, that would be great, but winning the singles at Wimbledon would be a much, much bigger deal.
"For me here, winning either counts for exactly the same in the medals table. Obviously I would love to beat Roger tomorrow as well, but either match would be great to win. I'm going to give it my best in both."