The passage of Serena Williams through her 10th match in a row on the grass courts of the All England Club was so quick, that it almost got lost amid the falling rain that delayed play on the outside courts. The younger Williams was beyond ruthless in her 6-0, 6-1 dismissal of Vera Zvonareva, whom Williams humbled here in the Ladies Singles final at The Championships in 2010.
Producing 12 aces during the 51-minute win, and an astonishing 32 winners to the Russian's meagre three, Williams was in full-pelt form, hardly challenged, and quite in charge of her convictions.
"I think I played better today and even in my second round than any match I played at Wimbledon," Williams pronounced. "I was just playing unbelievable. I felt good. I was relaxed. I felt like, you know what, I'm here to have fun, I have nothing to lose. No pressure on myself."
"I was nervous going into the match," she admitted. "I didn't speak to anyone. I had a bad practice. I was thinking, Gosh, I'm stressed out. I had no idea I would play like this. I was a little surprised."
Part of her performance included serving four aces in a game, as she memorably did against Agnieszka Radwanska in The Championships' final.
"I'm trying to do that at least once a tournament," she joked. "So far I've done it. I don't think I did it in Stanford, but two-out-of-three isn't bad."
Her next opponent will be either Caroline Wozniacki, or Daniela Hantuchova, the last match of the day on Wednesday.
Serena is, of course, chasing not just one, but two medals at these Olympics, the second being the doubles with her sister Venus. Which, she revealed, means more.
"To be completely honest [I'd prefer] a gold in doubles," she said. "I would love to have a gold in singles, but if I had to choose one, I would just choose doubles."
Their next opponents, the second seeds and solid Italians, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani, had pronounced that Serena is the stronger of the two, but, ever Serena, she dismissed that.
"Cool," she said in response. "So maybe they'll hit all the balls to Venus and I'll relax. That's the mistake."
Venus, meanwhile, will be concentrating on just the doubles after she was ousted by a matter of points, 6-7(5), 6-7(5) by Wimbledon semi-finalist Angelique Kerber.
"Venus was playing very well today but I just tried to be tough and play my game," Germany's Kerber said. "I am very excited to be in the quarter-finals here."
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