Brilliant stuff from Petra Kvitova


LONDON -- The theme at these 128th Championships at the All England Club has been the ascendance of youth -- the changing of the guard, as it were.

But now that we're down to one last singles match, Sunday's men's final, it's clear that there's something to be said for experience, especially on a surface as subtle as Centre Court. Twenty-three-year-olds Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic both lost in the men's semifinals -- and now 20-year-old Eugenie Bouchard, the named-for-a-royal-princess darling of this tournament, is out.

Kvitova, a 24-year-old from the Czech Republic, collected her second Wimbledon title in four years, throttling Bouchard 6-3, 6-0.

It was the most one-sided women's final in 22 years; Steffi Graf unloaded on 17-year-old Monica Seles 6-2, 6-1 in the 1992 final. Kvitova won 61 of 98 points in a match that required only 55 minutes.

The match was played on a murky, moist day but the roof was left open. The end came so suddenly that the All England Club, perhaps thinking of their patrons along with their many television contracts, chose to pause for 15 minutes or so to close the roof for the trophy ceremony. Both players left the court, which was unprecedented.

In her on-court interview, Kvitova had difficulty getting through her answers. Tears welled in her eyes and her thin voiced cracked.

"I can't say that it's more special [than the first title]," she said, "but after three years to stand here with the trophy, it's definitely amazing.

"It's an amazing time for me."

Kvitova has always been an all-or-nothing, hit-or-miss player. The strapping lefty is capable of some brilliant stuff, but there is always the worry that she'll be visited by doubts and see her game go off. For some reason, her composure on the lawn at Wimbledon has been exemplary.

She's been to five straight quarterfinals here -- three more than at any other Grand Slam -- and the 2011 title cast her in a different light. Kvitova had only played the Canadian once, beating her in a straight-sets second-round match last year in Toronto.

Most pundits didn't see that happening again. Bouchard ripped through the draw here, beating No. 9 seed Angelique Kerber in the quarter and No. 3 Simona Halep in the semifinals -- without dropping a set. Kvitova, on the other hand, had an undistinguished path to the final, beating only two seeded players, neither of them among the top 20.

As the match opened, however, it was clear Kvitova was hitting rather than missing. She broke Bouchard's second service game -- fractured it, really -- with a nasty forehand cross-court winner. Another unconscious forehand winner gave Kvitova Bouchard's fourth service game.

John McEnroe, sitting in the BBC commentary booth, was amazed.

"This is some of the best tennis you'll ever see on this court," said the three-time Wimbledon champion. "She's hitting it so clean."

Kvitova, serving for the first set at 5-2, dropped her serve, but that was the only moment of unsteadiness. She won the first three points of Bouchard's subsequent service game and, on the third set point, crushed a service return.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...