Photo: Eisele/Giubilo/ZimmerSerena Williams (USA) wins gold
LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN: Serena Williams completed a remarkable feat on Saturday as she won her first Olympic singles gold medal by defeating Maria Sharapova 60 61 on Centre Court. It was the most one-sided women’s singles final in Olympic tennis history, eclipsing Suzanne Lenglen’s 63 60 defeat of Dorothy Holman at Antwerp 1920.
Williams dropped just 17 games during her six matches in the tournament, which is the same number as Roger Federer lost in the third set alone of his marathon semifinal clash with Juan Martin del Potro. The American was in simply devastating form for the entire campaign, destroying all before her. It was flawless tennis.
It certainly can’t be said that Williams had an easy draw, either. The 30-year-old’s Olympic opponents included four current or former world No. 1 players, as well as the bronze medallist from Beijing. Yet the 14-time Grand Slam champion succeeded in making these players look very ordinary at times.
At the base of her success was a formidable displaying of serving. In six matches, Williams struck 60 aces and hit just four double faults. She offered her opponents seven break points during the tournament, a measly average of just over one per match, and she only dropped her serve once, and that was way back in the second round.
And the Williams medal haul is still going. On Saturday evening, Serena teamed up with sister Venus to reach the final as they chase their third doubles gold medal together. The Americans defeated Russian pair Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova 75 64, setting up a showdown with Czech duo Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. It will be a repeat of this year’s Wimbledon final, which Serena and Venus won.
The men’s doubles reached its climax on Saturday as Bob and Mike Bryan made it a great day for Team USA by finally adding an Olympic gold medal to their already crowded trophy cabinet. The American twins had long coveted this elusive prize, so they were ecstatic when they recorded a 64 76(2) win over French pair Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
There were two bronze medals decided on Saturday. Victoria Azarenka, the world No. 1, took home the women’s singles bronze for Belarus by defeating Kirilenko 63 64, while the French partnership of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet claimed the men’s doubles bronze with a 76(4) 62 victory against David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez.
The semifinals of the mixed doubles took place on Saturday, too. The British crowd revelled in Laura Robson and Andy Murray’s tight win over Sabine Lisicki and Christopher Kas 61 67(7) [10-7]. The Brits will meet the top seeds from Belarus in the final, after Azarenka and Max Mirnyi overcame Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan 36 64 [10-7].
The final day of the Olympic Tennis Event on Sunday is going to be a cracker, as the medals are decided in the men’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Top of the billing is the best-of-five-sets men’s singles final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray!
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