LONDON — American tennis star Serena Williams captured the women’s singles gold medal Saturday at the London Olympics about one month after capturing the Wimbledon title on the same court.
On a sunny, windy day, Serena Williams came out with power and a vengeance, opening her match against Russian Maria Sharapova with a love game in which three of the four points came on blistering service aces.
She won the first nine games and coasted to a 6-0, 6-1 victory in barely over one hour to win her first individual Olympics gold medal. It gives her the so-called “Golden Slam” for having won all four of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments (the Australian, French and U.S. Opens and Wimbledon), plus the Olympics.
German Steffi Graf is the only other player to achieve the feat, doing it in 1988. Williams is the only one to do it in both singles and doubles.
Williams had previously won Olympic doubles gold medals with older sister Venus in Sydney in 2000 and four years ago in Beijing.
Serena said this win was special. “I’ve always wanted to win a gold medal secretly, and I’ve always said, it doesn’t matter because I already have a gold medal and I really believe that, and I really felt that. But deep, deep, deep, deep down I wanted it in singles as well and I got it. It’s an amazing feeling. I can’t compare it. I have them all, so it’s a great feeling," she said.
Sharapova said it is clear Serena has been playing with a lot of confidence. “After winning Wimbledon you’ve seen her level progress so much here over this tournament. With every match she’s played she’s playing better, hitting harder, and so much power on the ball, even against the wind today, her shots were very powerful. She’s done an incredible job of keeping that up," she said.
Williams was so happy after her victory that she jumped in the air, and then performed a little jig at the side of the court. “I love to dance and I didn’t know what else to do I was so happy, and the next thing I know I started bouncing and moving and I didn’t plan it. It just happened," she said.
As the American flag was being raised during the playing of the national anthem at the medal ceremony, the wind blew it down.
When asked if she knew what happened, she said, “I just saw all these gusts of wind, and you see the flag flying and you’re like, ohhh. It was probably flying to come hug me because the flag was so happy and it didn’t quite make it, but almost.
Winning the women’s tennis bronze medal was Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. She beat Russian Maria Kirilenko (6-3, 6-4).
The United States also won the gold medal in men’s doubles Saturday, with twin brothers Mike and Bob Bryan defeating Frenchmen Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6-4, 7-6). The bronze went to Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau.
Serena and Venus Williams will play for the women’s doubles gold medal Sunday, and home favorite Andy Murray, who upset Serbian star Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, will play world No. 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland for the men’s gold.
Federer will aim to do what Serena did by winning the Wimbledon title last month and the Olympic title this month at the All England Club.