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Sports

Williams wins tennis gold, Britain dominate rowing

Legendary American tennis star Serena Williams won gold in the women's singles Saturday. In rowing, it was a historic day for hosts Great Britain while Switzerland's Nicola Spirig claimed gold in the women's triathlon.

Tennis star Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova to win her first Olympic singles gold Saturday. The American dominated her Russian opponent, winning 6-0 and 6-1 in the most one-sided women's final in Olympic history.

It is the third medal for Williams, who also won two doubles gold medals with her sister Venus. She is just the second woman after Germany's Steffi Graf to win a Golden Slam of all four major tennis titles and a singles gold medal.

"It's too much," said Williams after the match. "I just never expected gold in singles."

The victory comes one month after she won her fifth Wimbledon title. "I didn't think it could get better than winning Wimbledon but you can see how happy I am," she said. "I've never played better."

The United States bested France in the men's doubles gold medal match. Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra 6-4 and 7-6 (7/2) to win their first Olympic gold. The two won bronze four years ago in Beijing.

Bob Bryan called it the biggest win of his career, while Mike added, "we could stop tomorrow, and we got a big smile on our faces for the rest of our lives."

Golds for the hosts

It was a historic day for British rowing, with the hosts winning two golds and a silver medal. The first gold came in the men's four race, with Alex Gregory, Pete Reed, Tom James and Andrew Triggs Hodge finishing first.

Leading from start to finish, the British quartet bested rivals Australia, who won bronze. The United States finished third.

Great Britain's, left to right, Andrew Triggs Hodge, Tom James, Pete Reed and Alex Gregory wave to the grandstand after winning the gold medal for the men's rowing four in Eton Dorney, near Windsor, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.

Great Britain won nine rowing medals in total at the London Olympics

"That was our masterpiece, it took four years to make," said Triggs Hodge.

Britain's second victory came in the lightweight women's double sculls. Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking won their country's first ever Olympic gold medal in the event.

A third win almost came in the lightweight men's double sculls, but defending champions Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter settled for silver when the Danish duo of Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist crossed the finish line first.

Denmarkalso won silver in the women's single sculls courtesy of Fie Udby Erichsen, who finished behind the Czech Republic's Miroslava Knapkova on the final day of the Olympic rowing regatta at Eton Dorney.

Photo finish

Switzerland's Nicola Spirig crossed the finish line first in a close race at the women's triathlon in Hyde Park. The 30-year-old won by less than 15 centimeters, with Lisa Norden of Norway given the same time of 59 minutes 48 seconds.

Nicola Spirig (R) of Switzerland wins the women's triathlon final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Hyde Park August 4, 2012. Lisa Norden (L) of Sweden took the silver and Erin Densham of Australia took the bronze.

Spirig beat Norden by just 15 centimeters

Cameras had to be used to decide the winner. Spirig was awarded gold after it became clear that her torso crossed the line first at the end of the final sprint. It is her first Olympic medal.

"I've never had a finish like that in an important race," said Spirig. "I knew I had a good sprint but I could see on the screens that Lisa was coming back strongly."

Australia's Erin Densham crossed the finish line two seconds behind her European competitors to claim the bronze medal, having been in contention to win until the last 200 meters.

First medal for Guatemala

China's Chen Ding celebrates while holding his national flag after he won the men's 20k race walk during the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Mall August 4, 2012. Ding, 19, set a new Olympic record with a time of 1:18:46, finishing 11 seconds ahead of Guatemala's Erick Barrondo and Chinese compatriot Wang Zhen, who took silver and bronze respectively.

19-year-old Ding won China its first ever gold medal in the event

Erick Barrondo of Guatemala finished second in the men's 20km race walk to win his country's first Olympic medal ever. It was a major achievement for the 21-year-old, who is competing at his first Olympics.

Chen Ding and Wang Zhen of China finished first and third, winning gold and bronze respectively. It is China's first gold medal in the event.

dr/slk (AFP, Reuters, dpa)