- London 2012: Tennis
Stunning Serena crushes Sharapova for Olympic gold
Serena Williams proved without any doubt she is the finest women's tennis player in the game by crushing Maria Sharapova to win the Olympic singles title and complete her career golden slam.
After a spell in the wilderness on account of injuries, Williams has returned to her best this year and proved the point with her Wimbledon title success last month. The only thing missing from her singles CV was an Olympic title and she set about putting that right in some style this week.
Williams progressed to the final for the loss of just 16 games, destroying the likes of Caroline Wozniacki and world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, and she carried the form into the final with Sharapova - racing to a stunning 6-0 6-1 win.
The American set the tone in the opening game, firing down three aces - one of which was a second serve - in a love hold.
Sharapova has won four grand slams and is too one of the greats of her generation, but she was simply made to look like a second-rate player by the complete authority of Williams.
It was not until the third game that Sharapova won a point, but it proved a false dawn as Williams held - courtesy of a fourth ace - and she broke again for 4-0. And two games later, after only 30 minutes, the set was Williams'.
The dominance continued at the start of the second, with a glorious, precision backhand that landed flush on the line. It prompted a look of resignation from Sharapova who had worked the point well but could do nothing about the shot-play of her opponent.
Sharapova avoided the double bagel by getting on the board in the fourth game of the second set and winning a game appeared to imbue the Russian as she worked a couple of break points. But Williams was in no mood to let her opponent back into the match and fended off the threat before breaking serve to put herself within one game of victory.
And it was somewhat fitting, given how well she has served this week, that Williams secured gold on her own serve.