WIMBLEDON: Serena Williams became only the second woman to complete a career Golden Slam, winning the most lopsided women's final in Olympic history yesterday by beating Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1.
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.
And she's not done in London. Williams and her sister Venus, pursuing their third gold in doubles, beat Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova of Russia 7-5, 6-4 in the semi-finals. Their opponents today will be Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.
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.
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.
Sharapova completed a career Grand Slam in June by winning the French Open, but Williams beat her for the eighth consecutive time. The most one-sided previous women's final was in 1920, when France's Suzanne Lenglen beat Dorothy Holman of Great Britain, 6-3, 6-0.
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.
Roger Federer will try to complete a career Golden Slam when he plays Andy Murray of Britain in the men's final today.
Murray will also be in the final of the mixed doubles after he and Laura Robson defeated Sabine Lisicki and Christopher Kas of Germany 6-1, 6-7 (7), 10-7.
Williams took charge of the final from the start, sweeping the first eight points. The crowd wanted to see a contest and saved its biggest cheers for the rare occasions when Sharapova won a point.
There was no giving up by the Russian, one of the most dogged players on the women's tour, but there was no letup from Williams. When she ripped a return winner for a 2-0 lead in the second set, she screamed "Come on!" as if trying to jump-start her game.
She had a similar outburst two games later after whacking a winner to erase a break point, one of only two she faced. She was broken just once in the tournament.
Meanwhile, America's Bob and Mike Bryan added a gold medal to their trophy haul yesterday with a 6-4 7-6 win over France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra in the men's doubles final.
The Bryan twins, who have won 11 grand slam titles together and took home the men's doubles bronze in Beijing, were handed the victory in a second set tiebreak when Llodra ploughed the ball into the net.
France also took home two medals, with Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet earlier claiming the men's doubles bronze with a 7-6 6-2 win over Spain's David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez.