Australian and French Open champion Williams moved ever closer to the calendar grand slam by storming past Sharapova 6-2 6-4 — some 11 years after losing to her biggest foe in tennis in the final at SW19.
Coach Patrick Mouratoglou insisted in advance that Williams’ dominance means there “is not really a rivalry” — and the world number one vindicated that claim to book a showdown with Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.
Williams will hold all four major titles at the same time to claim a second “Serena slam” with victory on Saturday.
The 33-year-old still needs this year’s Wimbledon and US Open crowns for that elusive calendar slam: and has banned all such talk.
Williams did however concede after thrashing Sharapova: “At least I made it to the final of four (grand slams), so that’s pretty good.” The last time Sharapova beat Williams, Britney Spears was still a pop princess, and three years away from shaving her head.
America had barely heard of Barack Obama and Tony Blair was still British prime minister.
Sharapova expected to dominate the tennis world after beating Williams twice in 2004, to both the Wimbledon crown and WTA Tour Championships title.
The Russian reckoned without Williams’ incredible staying powers though, and also the fire from a long-running feud intensified by a fall-out over Grigor Dimitrov.
Two years ago Williams appeared to brand Dimitrov “the guy with the black heart” after their relationship broke down.
Sharapova responded in kind by questioning Williams’ coupling-up with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, saying: “If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids”.
Now Dimitrov dates Sharapova, and that triangle leaves precious little love between the Russian and the American.
But for Williams, any latent frustrations are surely exorcised by the total dominance of these now-17 consecutive victories against Sharapova.
Williams is still coached by Mouratoglou but rumoured to be paired up with rapper Drake, who has been on hand at Wimbledon this year as moral support.
“It wasn’t easy out there; it was interesting,” said Williams after coasting home — a statement to convince no one.
Wimbledon’s top seed started her intimidation game two days out from this semi-final, declaring “I love playing Maria”.
John Skilbeck Spain’s Garbine Muguruza has a fairytale first Wimbledon final to look forward to on Saturday after seeing off Agnieszka Radwanska in a dramatic Centre Court clash.
Two weeks ago, Muguruza lost to Britain’s Jo Konta in the third round at Eastbourne, and she had never gone beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam before.
But the heavy-hitting 21-year-old has enjoyed a thrilling run through the Wimbledon draw and added Radwanska to her list of victims, a 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory setting up a shot at Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova for the title.
Muguruza becomes Spain’s first women’s singles finalist at Wimbledon since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario lost to Steffi Graf in the 1995 and 1996 title matches.