Serena Williams stands on the gold-medal platform. (Victor R. Caivano / Associated…)
LONDON -- Serena Williams, the newly minted gold medalist, did a little dance after almost winning at love.
That's what winning the Olympics and another Wimbledon in less than a month will do.
Williams served three aces in the opening game and rarely relented, beating an overmatched Maria Sharapova of Russia, 6-0, 6-1, in the women's Olympic final Saturday, taking 62 minutes.
"I was so focused here," Williams said afterward. "I remember I was serving and I was thinking, 'Serena, this is your best chance to win a gold medal. You played Wimbledon on grass. You played great on grass. Pull it together.' I was thinking, 'I got to do this.'
"...I was like, 'I can do this. This is so your surface, so just do it.'"
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Sharapova, who was playing in her first Olympics, lauded the high level of tennis displayed by Williams.
"Look, she's playing incredibly confident tennis," Sharapova said. "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, 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."
The conditions were tricky throughout the final.
"It was so windy," Williams said. "Of course it's not windy now, go figure. It was so windy, you could see my hair. I could barely see at times."
Finally, what about her impromptu victory dance?
"I don't think I ever danced like that," Williams said. "I don't even know where the dance came from. It's just a dance we do in California, I'd say, West Coast."
It was the first Olympic singles medal, of any kind, for Williams, who had won two doubles titles at the Olympics with older sister Venus, who was on hand, taking pictures from the Friends Box.
Sharapova, a former No. 1 who was seeded third at the Olympics, was undone by the combination of Williams' potent serve and the swirling windy conditions. But Serena has made nearly every top player look ordinary at the Olympics at the All England Club.
This was like a brief coffee break compared to the workload for Williams in the Wimbledon final last month, as she needed three sets to secure her fifth title.
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