|Serena said her defeated opponent was 'a champion' [GALLO/GETTY]
Serena Williams again showed the chasm between her and the rest of the field when she retained her Wimbledon singles crown with a crushing 6-3 6-2 win over Russia's Vera Zvonareva.
The victory, her fourth at the All England Club which took just 67 minutes, meant Williams overtook Billie Jean King with 13 grand slam singles titles to go sixth in the all-time list.
She celebrated the winning smash by flinging her racket into the air and gesturing to her entourage.
Zvonareva was blinking back the tears by her chair after the defeat.
"This one is very special. Billie Jean, I got you," Serena told her compatriot who was watching on from the Royal Box.
"I'd like to congratulate Vera, she has been through so much and she defines what a champion and never giving up means."
The defending champion opened confidently with a rock-solid service game to love, and the Russian's nerves will have settled after levelling at 1-1 in front of a packed Centre Court crowd on a warm, overcast Saturday at the All England Club.
Zvonareva took the American top seed to deuce in game three before Serena clinched it with a third ace.
The first signs of pressure on the 21st seed came in the sixth game when three forehand errors gave Williams the first break point of the match.
But Zvonareva hit a pinpoint forehand into the corner to fend that off, and then a netted return from Williams made it 3-3.
The decisive breakthrough came in game eight when a double fault from Zvonareva took it to deuce before a long backhand from the Russian gave Williams another break point.
The American smacked her racket into the ground in frustration when she netted a backhand return but a superb lob after a lucky netcord gave Williams another break point.
After lashing a winning forehand down the line, she went down on bended knee and celebrated with a fist pump.
Zvonareva earned her first break point of the match in game nine but Williams clung on and a long forehand gave the world number one the first set after 36 minutes.
The Russian looked unsettled and her tension was clear for all to see, including a host of former champions watching from the Royal Box, when a rushed netted forehand gave Williams a break in the opening game of the second set.
Zvonareva impressively saved two further break points trailing 1-3, but another double fault from the Russian meant a two-break deficit and an impossible mountain to climb.
Another confident service game took Williams to 5-1, and Zvonareva saved some pride with a hold of her own before Williams motored through the final game, smashing an overhead into the back wall for the moment of victory.
"Congratulations, you're a great player but also a great champion," Zvonareva told her conqueror in an emotional courtside interview.
"You showed great determination throughout the week and you deserved to win today."