WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Serena Williams became only the second woman to complete a career Golden Slam, winning the most lopsided women's final in Olympic history Saturday by beating Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1. The victory completed a remarkable run of domination by the No. 4-seeded Williams, who lost only 17 games in six matches en route to her first singles gold medal. She went 13-0 this summer at the All England Club, where she won her fifth Wimbledon title a month ago. The career Golden Slam was first achieved by Steffi Graf, who did it when she won at the Olympics in 1988 after sweeping all four major titles. Williams can add the gold medal to her 14 Grand Slam singles championships, the most of any active woman. And she's not done in London. Williams and her sister Venus, pursuing their third gold in doubles, were scheduled to play in the semifinals later Saturday. It took the No. 3-seeded Sharapova 45 minutes to win a game, and by then she trailed 6-0, 3-0. Williams dominated with her serve and repeatedly blasted winners from the baseline, taking a big swing with almost every stroke despite gusty conditions on Centre Court. The wind was so strong it blew the U.S. flag off its pole during the medal ceremony. When Sharapova wasn't lunging or whiffing as the ball whizzed past, she was caught off-balance trying to block back shots at her feet. Williams finished with 10 aces, 24 winners and only seven unforced errors. Sharapova completed a career Grand Slam in June by winning the French Open, but Williams beat her for the eighth consecutive time. The most one-sided previous women's final was in 1920, when France's Suzanne Lenglen beat Dorothy Holman of Great Britain, 6-3, 6-0. Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus won the bronze by beating No. 14-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6-3, 6-4. Sharapova's loss allowed Azarenka to retain the No. 1 ranking. Roger Federer will try to complete a career Golden Slam when he plays Andy Murray of Britain in the men's final Sunday. Williams took charge of the final from the start, sweeping the first eight points. The crowd wanted to see a contest and saved its biggest cheers for the rare occasions when Sharapova won a point. There was no giving up by the Russian, one of the most dogged players on the women's tour, but there was no letup from Williams. When she ripped a return winner for a 2-0 lead in the second set, she screamed "Come on!" as if trying to jump-start her game. She had a similar outburst two games later after whacking a winner to erase a break point, one of only two she faced. She was broken just once in the tournament. At 15-15 in the final game, a spectator shouted, "Don't give up, Maria." One point later someone else hollered, "Maria, I still want to marry you." When Williams closed out the victory with her 60th ace of the tournament, she let out a long scream. After shaking hands with Sharapova, Williams hopped a dozen times on the grass she loves, waved and then hopped some more. Williams was still jumping about as she put on her Team USA jacket for the medal ceremony. Then she began to dance.
It doesn't take an expert to tell you players like Alex Ovechkin or Marc-Andre Fleury will play a big role in the Stanley Cup Final.
Both the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights will need their best players to be at their best to take home the Cup. But who will be the unexpected heroes? Who are the players no one is talking about who will have a big hand in their team's success or defeat in this series?
Here are five players you should be watching in the Stanley Cup:
1. Devante Smith-Pelly: Smith-Pelly had seven goals in 79 games in the regular season. Now he has four goals in just 19 playoff games.
Smith-Pelly has been one of those unlikely playoff heroes for the Caps this postseason with very timely performances such as scoring the series-clinching goal in Game 6 against the Columbus Blue and scoring the goal that put the game away in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The physical play has really stood out as well for him, which fits well on the fourth line role he has settled back into now that the team is healthy again. Barry Trotz tried moving him to the top line in the absence of Tom Wilson and the results weren't great. He is best suited for the role he currently has and that will allow him to thrive.
2. James Neal: Neal came up just short of the Stanley Cup last season as a member of the Nashville Predators. He totaled nine points in 22 games during that run, a number he has already matched in just 15 games this postseason.
There are very few players on either team that boast the kind of postseason experience Neal has. He will be leaned upon this series for his leadership.
Vegas is a young team and their unprecedented success in the playoffs may make this feel like the first run of many for the Golden Knights, but not for Neal who is on the last year of his contract and came tantalizingly close to the Cup last season. He will play like there is no tomorrow because, for him, there may not be in Vegas.
3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky was one of the heroes of Game 7 with two goals to put away the Tampa Bay Lightning. That marked just the latest peak in a career full of peaks and valleys for the young winger. Just two games before, Burakovsky was a healthy scratch and spoke to the media about his plans to speak with a sports psychologist in the offseason.
The talent is there and it certainly appears that the injury that kept him out earlier in the playoffs is largely behind him. Burakovsky’s issues have always been mainly between the ears. In a series against a fast team with strong depth, he can be an absolutely critical piece for the Caps. Hopefully, his Game 7 performance gave him the confidence he needs to continue to be effective.
4. Ryan Reaves: Vegas acquired both Reaves and Tomas Tatar around the trade deadline. If I were to tell you that through three rounds of the playoffs, both players were healthy, had played the same number of games (6) and had the same number of points (1), you’d think I was crazy. Yet, here we are.
Reaves was largely an afterthought in a complicated trade between Vegas, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, but he has carved a nice role for himself on the Golden Knights’ fourth line and even scored the goal that sent Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final against the Winnipeg Jets.
Reaves is also an agitator on the ice, but what do the Caps do against a player like that when their normal fighter plays on the top line? We may see Reaves and Wilson come to blows this series, but it won't be very often because that is a bad tradeoff for the Caps.
5. Brooks Orpik: The elder statesman of the blue line, Orpik is the only player on the Caps with a Stanley Cup to his name and is the only one who has any idea what this experience is going to be like for the team.
Orpik is very diligent about keeping in shape which has allowed him to play in 81 games this season and all 19 playoff games despite being 37 years old, but you do have to wonder how much is left in the tank. Despite being the favorite whipping boy for the proponents of analytics, his physical play has been effective this postseason. The focus he placed on the skating in the offseason has paid dividends so far in matchups against the speedy Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Golden Knights will be the fastest team they have played yet. There is no denying Orpik is much more suited towards a physical style of game. Wil he continue to be effective or will Vegas exploit the Caps' third defensive pairing?
MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:
The wait is finally over.
After two decades, the Capitals are back in the Stanley Cup Final.
After a convincing 4-0 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Capitals are in Vegas to take on the Golden Knights. They'll be facing off against a handful of familiar names, with former Caps GM George McPhee, fan favorite Nate Schmidt, and ex-Penguins goalie Marc Andre-Fluery are just a few of the names that'll be suiting up for Vegas.
Game 1 Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Monday, May 28
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV.
TV Channel: NBCSN
How To Watch Live Streaming: NBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 FM)
WHEN IS GAME 1 OF THE CAPITALS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS SERIES?
Game 1 of the Capitals-Golden Knights 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final takes place on Monday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
WHAT TV CHANNEL IS GAME 1 OF THE CAPITALS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS SERIES ON?
The TV broadcast of Game 1 between the Capitals and Golden Knights is on NBC. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)
5:00 p.m. — Caps Cup Preview
6:00 p.m. — Caps GameDay Live
6:30 p.m. — Caps Face Off
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Game 1 Capitals vs. Golden Knights
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
WHERE CAN I STREAM CAPITALS vs. GOLDEN KNIGHTS GAME 1?
Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights is available for online stream on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the NBC Sports live stream page.
CAPITALS vs. GOLDEN KNIGHTS GAME 1 OPEN THREAD
Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans.
For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals digital producer JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.