Brilliant stuff from Petra Kvitova

The second set play-by-play, if you have a taste for the macabre, can be found somewhere online. Suffice to say that Kvitova never came out of the unnatural zone she was playing in, and Bouchard looked like one of the juniors playing on Court No. 3.

The end came so swiftly, it was almost difficult to believe.

"I didn't feel like I was able to play my game," Bouchard said later. "She really took the chances away from me and was really putting a lot of pressure on me. I didn't have that many opportunities.

"But sometimes your opponent just plays better than you, and that's what happened today."

This wasn't the second round in Charleston, or even the quarters in Rome. This was a Wimbledon final. Kvitova laced a backhand cross-court winner on match point and fell to her back. She bounced up smiling and ran to net.

"It's hard," said McEnroe, in a rare understatement, "to put into words how good she was."

Last year, Bouchard didn't make much of an impact in the Grand Slams. Then 19, her ranking wasn't high enough to even play the Australian Open, and she won a total of only four matches at the remaining three.

This year, Bouchard entered the women's final against Kvitova with a 16-2 record in the majors -- the best of any woman. Her trademark is taking the ball early, standing stubbornly on or inside the baseline and trusting her athleticism to get the ball in play.

"It was a big moment walking out onto Centre Court for a final," Bouchard said. "I have that experience now. I know what it feels like. I hope I can walk out to many more finals. That's the goal.

"I am very motivated to win a Grand Slam. It's been a lifelong dream of mine. I feel like I've taken steps in the right direction to achieve that."

How far, how fast has Bouchard -- now 20 -- come? How about faster than Martina Hingis?

Hingis won the junior girls' tournament here in 1994, then three years later reached the women's final (and won) at the All England Club. Bouchard got to the final in two years. Further, Bouchard reached the final in only her sixth major appearance, a remarkable achievement underlined by the fact only five women ever did better -- and their names were Shriver, Venus, Evert, Zvereva and Seles. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Bouchard can make a similar impression on the game.

"She played fantastic these two weeks," Bouchard said of Kvitova. "It was tough for me today. But I'm proud of how I played this tournament. I feel like it's a step in the right direction. I don't know if I deserve all your love today, but I appreciate it."

And Kvitova? She's always been a nervy player. Maybe this confirmation of her greatness on the grass at Wimbledon will send her off on a major tear. Then again, maybe it won't.

"Mentally, I already played in the final, but you never know how it's going to go," she said, perhaps sounding a bit surprised. "I'm just happy to be here and hold the trophy."

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