WIMBLEDON, England– Three times on a single point, Serena Williams hit a serve that clipped the net cord before plopping in to the service box for a let, a sequence that drew giggles from the Centre Court crowd.
Otherwise, there was no way to slow Williams on Wednesday. She hit 12 aces and repeatedly rocketed groundstrokes past No. 13-seeded Vera Zvonareva to win 6-1, 6-0 and reach the Olympic quarterfinals.
Swinging lustily with almost every shot, the No. 4-seeded Williams hit 32 winners to three for the Russian, who also lost when they met in the 2010 Wimbledon final. Williams swept the last 10 games and was done in only 51 minutes.
Watch Williams talk about her hunger to win the Olympics here:
While play was delayed by rain on other courts, Williams worked under Wimbledon’s roof, and the conditions clearly suited her. She whacked winners even from behind the baseline, and more than once spun on one foot after smacking a shot, mixing a little body English with plenty of brute force.
Williams hit a Wimbledon record 102 aces en route to her fifth title at the All England Club last month, and the shot remains a dominant force, especially on grass. She hit three consecutive aces against Zvonareva and lost only seven points in six service games.
In the second set, the crowd tried to coax a comeback from the Russian, but when she began tossing her racket in frustration, cheers for her turned to jeers.
And fans applauded Williams’ domination.
“We love you, Serena!” a spectator near the top of the stadium shouted during the final changeover. Williams continued to stare sternly, but she wore a grin moments later as she walked off the court in triumph, waving to the stands dotted with U.S. flags.
Williams has lost only 10 games through three rounds. The third-time Olympian is the winner of two gold medals in doubles and 14 major titles, but she has yet to win a singles medal.