Williams blasted three aces in the opening game and raced to a 2-0 lead without allowing Sharapova a single point.
While no woman likely could have denied Williams gold Sunday, it was clear that Sharapova had even less chance amid the gusting winds.
Williams, who boasts the best serve in women’s tennis, smartly lowers her ball-toss when competing in such aggravating conditions. And she can do so without compromising her serve’s power or placement.
At 6 feet 2, Sharapova can lower her aberrantly high toss only so much. And because her serve is a liability to start with, it got ugly fast. With her serve betraying her, Sharapova seemed to break down in every facet of her game. Her footwork was leaden. And her best groundstrokes were whimpers compared to Williams’s thunderclaps.
Midway through the second set, a BBC commentator declared that the proceedings “resembled more blood sport than tennis.”
It was true.
Sharapova’s only opening was minuscule and fleeting, coming in the fifth game, in which she finally got a break point on Williams’s serve, and then another.
Williams crushed both.
The Russian committed a rash of double faults to hand Williams a 5-1, second-set lead. And Williams blasted back-to-back aces to bring the match to a merciful conclusion.
“She has got such great form,” Sharapova said of Williams. “She was just too stubborn, too strong for me today.”
Williams defeated four former world No. 1 players en route to the 2012 Olympic gold medal: Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Sharapova.
Asked to explain her dominance over Sharapova, who also was seeking a Golden Slam and would have reclaimed the No. 1 world ranking with a victory Saturday, Williams said: “I think I was just focused. I don’t think she did anything wrong. I was blind today. It was just something about today and this tournament.”
The women’s singles bronze medal went to Belarus’s Azarenka, who’ll retain her No. 1 ranking following her 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kirilenko.
On Sunday, Switzerland’s Roger Federer seeks a Golden Slam as well when he takes on overwhelming home-court favorite Andy Murray in a reprise of their riveting July 8 Wimbledon final.