Serena becomes only second female tennis player to achieve clean sweep
Serena Williams won her second final at Wimbledon in less than a month, beating the Russian Maria Sharapova in emphatic fashion, 6-0 6-1. This gold medal will be her third, added to the two she won in the doubles in 2000 and 2008.
Williams, who dropped just four games in total over the course of semi-final and final, was surprised at her phenomenal success: “I didn’t think I would be this happy,” said the American, “I’ve never played better. Playing against someone like Maria, you have to be at your best. I knew that, so it was like I had nothing to lose. I never expected gold in singles. I thought: ‘If my career’s over, I have my gold medal’ and now I have everything.”
It took 45 minutes for Sharapova, who had ended team GB’s Laura Robson’s hopes of a singles medal, to win her first and only game of the match; it was just the 17th game dropped by Williams during the tournament. The American also won the distinction of being only the second woman to win all four grand slam titles during her career as well as the Olympic gold medal in singles tennis; Steffi Graff was the first in 1988.
Sharapova meanwhile now holds the unfortunate record of suffering the most comprehensive defeat in Olympic women’s singles final history. The sheer speed with which she was beaten also meant that Andy Murray had to return to centre court sooner than expected to contest his mixed doubles quarter final with partner Laura Robson.
The pair pulled off a surprise victory against Australians Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur in three sets, winning 6-3 3-6 10-8. The Brits were 7-5 down in the super tie break (which comes into effect in mixed doubles in the final set, and awards the victory to the first pair to ten points with a two-point advantage), but recovered to advance to the semi-final, where they will meet Germans Sabine Lisicki and Christopher Kas.
Murray will also meet Federer this Sunday in a rematch of this year’s Wimbledon final; the two men have only one Olympic medal between them, Federer’s gold in the men’s doubles in 2008, and so neither will be in need of any motivation when they meet this afternoon.
Theo Chiles, Olympics correspondent