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LEAD: Ruthless Serena Williams crushes Sharapova to win singles gold Eds: recasts after singles final, adds quotes

Europe
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London (dpa) - American Serena Williams filled the only hole in her resume as she demolished Russia‘s Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 to win the gold medal in the women‘s singles at Wimbledon on Saturday.

The fourth-ranked American turned in an utterly ruthless performance to crush the Russian and become only the second woman to win all four grand slam titles and the Olympic gold in her career.

Williams roared as she hit her 10th ace to clinch victory before leaping up and down in the middle of the court. She is the only player in history to win all four grand slam titles in singles and doubles, and Olympic gold in both events.

World No 3 Sharapova, who won the French Open in June for her fourth grand slam title, also had the chance to complete a golden career but was helpless in the face of the Williams onslaught.

Having won the Wimbledon title less than a month ago and not lost to Sharapova since 2004, Williams was the strong favourite and brilliant serving and heavy groundstrokes saw her to a dominant victory.

Sharapova finally got a game on the board at 6-0, 3-1 and had two chances to break back in the next game but Williams shut her out.

Belarus picked up their first ever tennis medal as world No 1 Victoria Azarenka beat another Russian, Maria Kirilenko, 6-3, 6-4 to win the bronze.

Hammered by Williams in the semi-final, Azarenka recovered her poise to see off Kirilenko, who was a surprise semi-finalist after beating former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Azarenka clinched victory on her second match point before falling to her knees in joy.

"It means everything to me," Azarenka told dpa. "It was an incredible achievement to go out there after a tough day yesterday and to fight hard and to give my all. I am so proud of what I did and emotions are overwhelming.

"I‘m really proud of being the first Belarussian to get a tennis medal. "I hope we can continue in mixed and try to get another one."

Williams is due to partner her sister, Venus Williams in the final of the women‘s doubles later on Saturday. The pair have won the gold medal twice before, in 2000 and 2008. dpa scl mis

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