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Towering Kvitova wins second Wimbledon singles title

by Ron Atkin
Saturday 5 July 2014
Petra Kvitova, the Czech left-hander who stands six feet tall, towered over the ladies’ singles final with an awesomely impressive display of power tennis that crushed Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0 in just 55 minutes.
Kvitova, who did a similar demolition job on Maria Sharapova to win Wimbledon for the first time three years ago, put behind her what has often been a patchy career since that great day in 2011 to utterly outclass Bouchard and collect a reward of £1,760,000 and the Venus Rosewater Dish, symbol of the greatest prize in the women’s game.
The coronation of Canada’s princess of the courts will have to wait until another, happier occasion. Bouchard, who is only 20, had sailed through to the final without dropping a set but this was a day on which Kvitova had all the answers, not that Bouchard was posing many questions.
If, in future years, Kvitova suffers any down moments in life she can always sit down and watch a tape of this match to cheer herself up. It was magical stuff.
It was also the quickest ladies’ final at Wimbledon for 31 years, since Martina Navratilova, also a Czech and an even more famous left-hander, routed Andrea Jaeger in the 1983 final, also for the loss of just three games. Navratilova, who was among the nine former Wimbledon ladies’ champions in the Royal Box, was in tears of happiness for her compatriot at the end.

Morning rain had caused the Centre Court roof to be closed as a precaution but better conditions – blue skies and fluffy clouds rather than grey,low ones – meant that it was opened again in good time for the finalists to enter bearing their bouquets, with Kvitova raising that formidable left arm in acknowledgement of the welcoming applause.

Soon that left arm was employed to more purpose, delivering an ace on her first serve and maintaining such a high level, with just three double-faults, that her serving average was 106 miles an hour. Kvitova broke in just the third game with a crunching cross-court forehand that clipped the side line.

It was soon sadly apparent that Bouchard was being outclassed and outgunned but the huge cheers that greeted her every winning point indicated where the Centre Court’s sympathies lay. Perhaps it was only natural after the torrent of publicity over her progress towards the final and such facts as being named by her mother Julie (“a closet royalist” according to Eugenie) after the daughter of the Duke of York. Princess Eugenie was, in fact, watching from the Royal Box, possibly sympathising with the plight of her namesake, who spent so much time on the back foot and lunging after Kvitova winners that she rarely enjoyed the opportunity to do what she likes best – to step in and wallop winners.

There was one brief moment of reprieve for  Bouchard when Kvitova, leading 5-2, served for the set and slipped off that perch of perfection momentarily with a couple of errors to drop serve, but she immediately captured the Canadian serve for a third time to go one set up in 32 minutes.

Things became even worse for Bouchard in the second set, which whizzed past in 23 minutes with hardly a rally of note. As the game count mounted against her Bouchard’s resilience was tested to destruction but she stood up well to what John McEnroe later called a “pummeling”.

As a cross-court winner on her first championship point left Bouchard flailing at air, Kvitova dropped her racket, raised her arms in triumph and then fell flat on her back on the turf on which she had played the match of her life. She had won 82 percent of her first serves, won six of 13 break points, struck 28 clean winners and did not need to serve and volley even once, so thoroughly did she dominate from the baseline. Lindsay Davenport, Wimbledon champion in 1999, described it as “some of the best tennis I have ever seen”.

Kvitova was happy to agree: “Yeah, I’ve played a lot of great matches and this is definitely one of them. I knew I could play well on the grass but I really played so well today. A few shots were incredible,  I couldn’t believe I made them. I said to myself, Oh my God, this is good. I was there 100 percent, ready for everything.

“This means everything to me. I mean, its Wimbledon. Tennis here is tennis history. I just had the tears in my eyes. I was so, so happy.”

Sportingly, Bouchard agreed. “I have to give [Kvitova] full credit,” she said. “She played unbelievable and didn’t give me many opportunities. For sure she was on. She has weapons and when she’s on she is very tough to beat, especially on this surface. I just have to give her credit. She deserved to win today.”

Bouchard insisted she wss not overwhelmed by the occasion, but the same could not be said for what was coming at her from the other side of the net.

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