LONDON: Defending champion Serena Williams won her fourth women`s singles title at Wimbledon with a crushing 6-3, 6-2 victory over Russian 21st seed Vera Zvonareva in the final on Saturday.
Williams displayed all her trademark power and poise to overwhelm Zvonareva on Centre Court and clinch the 13th Grand Slam crown of her career.
The 28-year-old`s triumph means the Venus Rosewater Dish awarded to the women`s champion was held aloft by a Williams for the ninth time in 11 years, sister Venus accounting for the others.
Serena, who pocketed one million pounds (1.5 million dollars) in prize money, has been by far the most impressive performer in the women`s event this year and is now just one Wimbledon title behind Venus.
Not one of Serena`s seven opponents here ever seriously threatened to upset her and it would be no surprise if the world number one was back to collect another title in 12 months time.
Although Zvonareva was unable to make any impact in her first Grand Slam final, the Russian can at least take consolation from seeing her ranking rise into the top 10 in the world.
Zvonareva, the second lowest ranked player ever to appear in the women`s final, has been dogged by doubts about her temperament for years after crumbling under pressure in big matches.
But the 25-year-old`s talent has never been in doubt and she has been a more confident, mature player over the last fortnight.
She knocked out three seeds on her way to the final, with fourth seed Jelana Jankovic and US Open champion Kim Clijsters among her scalps.
Taking on Serena in a final was another matter entirely though.
Serena`s three previous titles here were all clinched with final victories over Venus, but her sister had suffered a quarter-final exit against Tsvetana Pironkova this year.
Watched by a cavalcade of former Wimbledon champions, including Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Jana Novotna, Serena showed why she deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as the tournament`s all-time greats.
The top seed hadn`t dropped a set en route to the final but even that impressive statistic paled in comparison to her record total of 80 aces.
She increased that total on the second point of the match as she took the opening game to love.
That was quite a statement of intent. Zvonareva made a brave effort to respond with some clever groundstrokes, but the pressure of facing such constant controlled aggression gradually began to reveal cracks in her game.
After keeping Williams at bay for the first seven games, Zvonareva found it impossible to stem the tide any longer.
Serena couldn`t take her first break point in the fifth game. But she made no mistake when another came her way at 4-3 and drilled a forehand winner before celebrating the break on one knee.
That gave Serena the chance to serve for the set and she did just that with ruthless effeciency.
Zvonareva had competed well to that point but the prospect of coming from behind to win in three sets must have seemed like only the faintest of possibilities as she slumped in her chair at the break.
She would have known Serena was never going to let up for a moment and the American didn`t disappoint as she broke again in the first game of the second set.
Zvonareva`s morale was shattered now and Serena went for the kill, breaking again for a 4-1 lead before serving out yet another Wimbledon triumph in just one hour and seven minutes.
BDST: 2046hrs, July 3, 2010