By mercilessly crushing her world no. 1 WTA peer, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, 6,1- 6,2 with 16 aces and 33 winners, Serena secured a spot in Saturday’s final against her long-time rival, Maria Sharapova of Russia.
Today’s win guaranteed Serena, at the very least, a spot on top of the blocks sporting a silver medal for the US and bragging rights to her third Olympic medal overall (holds two in doubles with Venus Williams).
Sharapova took out countrywoman, Maria Kirilenko, in impressive fashion, 6-2, 6-3, in the day’s first women’s semifinal and did her part to set up what is sure to be a blockbuster, power-on-display Gold medal match between she and Williams. Their head-to-head is 8, Williams, 2, Sharapova.
Both ladies have achieved what’s known as the prestigious Career Grand Slam (having won all four tennis majors at least once), but neither have taken home the Olympic gold in the sport, completing what’s called a Career Golden Grand Slam. Only three players, man or woman, have done so in the open era (Steffi Graf, Andre Aggasi, and Raphael Nadal).
With history – and a lot of pride – on the line, there will be blood left on the otherwise pristine Wimbledon grass and only one woman, Serena Williams, world no. 4, or Maria Sharapova, world no. 3, will come out alive. But whatever the outcome, both will be sporting medals for their respective countries.