Williams Overpowers Sharapova to Clinch Elusive Singles Gold

Serena Williams completed her tennis collection yesterday with an Olympic singles gold medal.

The 30-year-old American has won 14-time major titles, but didn’t have her own Olympic singles victory.

Yesterday at Wimbledon, she screamed and jumped around Centre Court after beating French Open champion Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1. She’s the only player to win singles and doubles at all four majors as well as in the Olympics.

The victory, which took 63 minutes, was the most lop-sided women’s final in Olympic history, surpassing the record set by Suzanne Lenglen. The French player, who is the namesake of a court at Roland Garros in Paris, defeated Dorothy Holman of Britain 6-3, 6-0 at the 1920 Antwerp Games.

“It’s a different feeling, as long as you can get a medal at the Olympics, you are going to have it for the rest of your life, you’re going to be mentioned with all the other great athletes,” Williams told reporters.

Playing French Open champion and former top-ranked Sharapova of Russia brought out the best in Williams.

“Every time I play her, I know that she’s so good and I have to play well,” said the right-hander, who leads the Russian 9-2 and hasn’t lost to the 25-year-old since 2004.

‘Too Powerful’

“My opponent just played extremely well,” Sharapova said in a news conference. “There are things that I could have done different, but she was just too quick and too powerful.”

Williams struck 24 winners, four times more than Sharapova, who struggled on her ball toss as the wind swirled around Centre Court.

“She wasn’t making many mistakes, not giving me many opportunities,” Sharapova said. “She served extremely well, found the spots all around, and pretty fast, as well.  She returned well. She stays really low, hits the ball really hard. She’s an extremely powerful player. So that makes it a little more difficult.”

Williams won her fifth Wimbledon title a month ago, capping a comeback from injuries and surgeries that she said were nearly fatal.

“I was so focused,” Williams said. “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 got to do this.”

Williams has another shot at gold today, when she defends her doubles title with her sister, Venus, in the final against Czech pair Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.

Men’s Final

Andy Murray plays for a gold medal against Roger Federer of Switzerland, who reduced the British No. 1 to tears a month ago in the Wimbledon final. Murray and his partner, 18-year-old Laura Robson, are also going for the mixed doubles title against women’s world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi of Belarus.

“I did something nobody’s done,” Williams said. “So I’m really excited about it. I haven’t even had time to think about it. I’m hungry. I’ve got a doubles match that I’ve got to get serious for. We got to do this.”

Although Williams has now amassed 14 major singles titles as well as Olympic doubles and singles gold medals, she still has unfinished business.

“I want to win mixed doubles in Australia and at the French Open,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Rossingh at Wimbledon through the London sports desk at drossingh@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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