If there was any doubt that Serena Williams cares about this Olympic tennis event, coming just three weeks after winning her fifth Wimbledon singles title and fifth Wimbledon doubles title, it was the screech she let out when she missed her first match point. The 30-year-old was genuninely miffed that her forehand went into the net, and didn't swoosh pleasingly across the grass for a winner at the other end.
As it happened, it didn't matter one bit. Williams was emphatic in her 6-3, 6-1 defeat of former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic, her first serve firing up at the 76% mark, and her winners (20), well exceeding her unforced errors (11). There wasn't a great deal Jankovic could do about it.
With First Lady Michelle Obama in her players' box, Serena strode out onto Centre Court exactly three weeks to the day after doing the same walk to face Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the Ladies' Singles Championship. But this time, she was, of course, in navy blue with red trim, rather than all in white.
"I did know Michelle would be here," Serena revealed. "They asked me did I mind if she sat in the family box. I was like, of course not. Please, it would be my honour. I mean, I love Michelle. I gave her a thumbs up just to acknowledged that I knew she was here."
Jankovic, in the red of the Serbian flag, managed to restrict Serena to just one break point in the opening set, but one was all the American needed, dislogding the Serb's serve to take it after 34 minutes.
She was even better in the second, breaking serve to start, and roaring into a 4-0 lead before Jankovic could even work out where she had left her towel. Finally getting on the board to avoid a bagel humiliation, it took Serena a mere 27 minutes in total to round off that set, and record her eighth straight win at Wimbledon.
"I was a little nervous in the first set, but I think once I got relaxed, I played a little better," Williams said. "I actually think I played solid. I felt the ball well. I missed a few shots, but at least I was going forward."
Her reward is a meeting with the precocious Urszula Radwanska, Agnieszka's younger sister, who Williams beat in the first round of The Championships in 2008.
With just one singles gold to her name, from Sydney 2000, there is little doubt that Serena has her gaze firmly fixed on a second here in London. And perhaps a third doubles gold too, just for good measure.
"It's pretty cool, being an Olympian," Serena said. "It's a great feeling. For me, being a tennis player is my dream. But being an Olympian is something I never dreamed of. It's cool to be a part of such great athletes."
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."View all