What separates Serena from every other player

LONDON -- In the first game of Wednesday's semifinal match at Wimbledon, Maria Sharapova double faulted on game point. Serena Williams finished the second game with a screaming 121 mph ace down the T.

The serve, essentially, is the difference between the two players who will be positioned No. 1 and 2 when the WTA rankings come out next week.

Williams wrecked Sharapova 6-2, 6-4 in a match that took only 79 minutes.

It was her 17th straight win over Sharapova, a number that doesn't begin to describe her dominance. For the record, Williams has won 34 of the 37 sets during that decade-long run.

Chrissie Evert, the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, was impressed.

"The serve," she said after the match, "is the shot that separates her from everyone else, especially Sharapova.

"It seemed to be a lot worse than 6-2, 6-4, didn't it?"

Lindsay Davenport won three Grand Slams, including Wimbledon in 1999, with a larger-than-life serve.

"She's got the greatest weapon we've ever seen," Davenport said. "It's really that simple."

Williams had 13 aces and only two double faults (plus-11), while Sharapova had two aces and six double faults (minus-4). That's a big swing in a sport of fine margins.

Serena won 25 of her 29 first-serve points for a percentage of 86. Sharapova, 31-for-45 was at 69 percent.

Serena's fastest serve of the day, 123 mph, would have ranked her at No. 64 among the men who played the tournament -- ahead of exactly half the field. Rafael Nadal's fastest serve clocked at 124 mph.

"I mean, listen, that's one of her biggest strengths," Sharapova said later. "That's one of the reasons that she's in the position she's in today. She's able to come up with the goods from that serve when she's down. Obviously when she's ahead, it makes it a lot easier for her.

"That was definitely the case in today's match."

Both Evert and Davenport were quick to give Serena a big edge in another category.

"I think movement is the second thing," Evert said. "It seems like Serena gets to everything. How many times have you seen Maria off the court and out of position?

Davenport, who at 6-foot-2 is the same height as Sharapova, also struggled with movement.

"I think it plays a huge role in this matchup," Davenport said. "Serena has that explosive first step and can really accelerate. Maria can't compete with that.

"Serena would be a great athlete at any sport she chooses. Maria Sharapova is just a good tennis player."