Friday, August 3, 2012
Serena Williams claimed a 6-1 6-2 win over Victoria Azarenka to reach the 201 Olympic final where she will have a shot for the gold medal.
Williams needed just 63 minutes to set up a final clash with Maria Sharapova, who beat Maria Kirilenko 63 63.
Azarenka and Kirilenko will now play off for a bronze medal.
Serena hit 33 winners, including 16 aces, to just five unforced errors. Azarenka had 12 winners and 14 unforced.
"When you play the best in the world, you have to play better. That's what I did," Williams said. "I warmed up probably five times waiting for the match before me to finish, but I can wait with the best of them - I've been waiting my whole life. I have a lot of patience. That's the only thing I have patience with though."
Williams has conceded only 16 games in five matches to reach the final.
"I really look forward to playing Maria. I haven't played her in a while," Williams said about the final. "We always have good matches. She has improved so much. It will be interesting. She's ranked higher than I am so, again, I have nothing to lose."
Sharapova is hoping to emulate Elena Dementieva's feat in Beijing four years ago.
"Well it's incredible, not only to be part of this event and be an Olympian, but to put yourself in with an opportunity to go for gold. It's a really nice feeling," Sharapova said.
"I've been really fortunate to win all the grand slams and obviously this is my first Olympics so I'm just thrilled to be in the finals."
Sharapova broke in the sixth game of the first set and broke again to take the set in convincing fashion.
Kirilenko broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set, but Sharapova quickly broke in the next game.
That seemed to shatter Kirilenko's spirit. Sharapova went for the kill and let out a scream of joy as she broke for a 5-3 lead.
Masha fell 0-30 down, but recovered her composure and closed the win on her second match point.
"Obviously it's tough to play a Russian on the other side of the net, but I'm happy that one of us can go for gold," Sharapova said. "I knew this was going to be a really tough match. My previous meeting against Maria was really tough - she had so many chances to win that match. And she has been having such a great grass court season, getting to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
"It's incredible, not only to be a part of this event and be an Olympian, but to put yourself in with an opportunity to go for gold. It's a really nice feeling."
Kirilenko was disappointed, but will still compete in the bronze medal match.
"It's always tough to lose but I can just take positives from this tournament," Kirilenko said. "I'm still in with a chance to compete for a medal. And she played great today - it was difficult to do anything, but I tried my best."
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