Petra Kvitova was a class apart when she crushed Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0 to claim a second Wimbledon title – three years after clinching her first one.
Kvitova, who was two points away from crashing out of Wimbledon against Venus Williams in the third round, became just the fourth woman since 1990 to win multiple singles titles at the All England Club.
“I had great tactics from my coach, he always knows how I have to play,” said a tearful Kvitova after the match. “I can’t say that it’s more special (than my first) but definitely after three years to stand with the trophy again is amazing.”
In the first ever slam final featuring two players born in the 1990s, it was ultimately experience that prevailed.
Bouchard, the first Canadian man or woman to ever reach a grand slam final, was bidding to become just the second No13 seed to ever win a major. The last No13 seed to win a slam was Maria Sharapova here at Wimbledon 10 years ago.
Kvitova had the stronger start, hitting some ultra aggressive shots to get her first break point in the third game. But Bouchard saved it with a deep backhand that forced a wide cross backhand from Kvitova.
The Czech quickly got another chance though and converted with a big cross court forehand winner. Bouchard was aggressive on return the following game, forcing deuce a couple of times but Kvitova consolidated the break with a sensational point showcasing some great touch from both before she sealed it with a great defensive passing shot.
The Canadian double-faulted to hand over two break points the next game. She saved the first with a forehand down the line winner that skimmed the line and found her serve to save the second.
She faced a third but still managed to avoid going down a double-break and the crowd roared in applause. Bouchard double-faulted two games later, going down 15-40 in similar fashion and this time Kvitova didn’t hesitate to break, with a lightning-fast inside out forehand winner.
Kvitova’s first sloppy service game of the match came when she was trying to serve out the opening set. Bouchard hit a backhand passing shot down the line to get two break points and converted when the No6 seed landed a backhand in the net, giving a lifeline to the 20-year-old.
But the former champion was not discouraged, earning three set points on Bouchard’s serve thanks to a slick return winner.
Bouchard saved the first two but Kvitova took a one-set lead on her third chance. A calm Kvitova held to love to open the second set and had two break points in the next game.
Bouchard was clearly unable to keep up with her opponent’s depth and pace and she was soon down 0-3.
Every now and then, Bouchard would show brief signs of life by capitalising on her returns but the final mostly looked like a complete mismatch.
Even in the lengthier rallies, it was Kvitova who came out on top, hitting just within the lines and turning defence into attack. A merciless return gave Kvitova a fifth break of the match and she took her sixth game in a row to go up 5-0.
Bouchard hit three lets as she served to stay alive in the Championships but it only delayed the inevitable.
She crouched to hit a forehand winner and make it 30-30 with the crowd willing her to put up a fight but the next point gave Kvitova her first championships point and she took it with a backhand cross court winner – her 28th of the 55-minute final.
The 24-year-old's second major title will see her rise to No4 in the world when the new rankings come out on Monday. Meanwhile, Bouchard will rise to No7, the highest ranking ever achieved by a Canadian.
“I’d like to congratulate Petra. She played fantastic these two weeks. It was really tough for me today but I’m proud of how I’ve played this whole tournament. I love coming back to Wimbledon,” said a dejected Bouchard.
“I feel like it’s a step in the right direction. I don’t know if I deserve all your love today but I really appreciate it.”
Sport360's Reem Abulleil is stationed at Wimbledon throughout the tournament and each day will be providing an alternative outlook on the happenings at SW19.
Teenager Duval battling cancer
Sad news broke in the press room on Friday as it was revealed that 18-year-old American WTA player Vicky Duval has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Duval had a decent grass court season, qualifying in Birmingham before making the second round and qualifying in Wimbledon, where she upset No29 seed Sorana Cirstea in the first round of the main draw before falling to Belinda Bencic.
The American teenager learned about her diagnosis after her first round of qualifying here at Wimbledon but still chose to compete, which makes her journey to the second round even more impressive.
Reports reveal that the cancer has fortunately been caught at an early stage and that the prognosis is positive.
Glamour quotient high in the Royal Box
Meanwhile on Centre Court, the Royal Box was packed for the men’s semi-finals with the likes of rugby star Brian O’Driscoll, Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, Ukrainian footballer Andriy Shevchenko, and tennis former world number one Lindsay Davenport all in attendance.
Hollywood star Bradley Cooper who was here last year with Gerard Butler, was sat by Man vs. Wild’s Bear Grylls, while actor Jude Law and American business mogul Larry Ellison raised the glamour quotient in the house.
Maria Sharapova put her WAG hat on as she made sure she was in the stands to support her boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov and the Russian did her best to keep her emotions in check but her reactions throughout the match could not hide her nerves.
Bouchard’s ‘unfriendly’ ways
In the interview room, Eugenie Bouchard was asked if she was still “good mates” with Britain’s Laura Robson.
The pair had appeared together in a Gangnam-style video they posted on YouTube last year and were believed to be friends but Bouchard set the record straight.
“Are you still pretty good mates?” asked a reporter.
To which Bouchard answered: “No, I don’t think so.” It’s unsurprising considering Bouchard had recently said that the “tour is not a place to make friends”.
But still, it got us curious what happened there.
On paper, Petra Kvitova’s game should earn her a Wimbledon title at least every other year.
Her big lefty serve, coupled with her aggressive shots and all-out attack strategy, make her the perfect grass court player and had it not been for her nerves and struggles with the big time, she would have been a multiple Wimbledon champion already.
She says the cold weather in the Czech Republic meant she had to practise a lot indoors on very fast surfaces which is why she has no problem excelling on the speedy courts of the All England Club.
There may be a lot of differences between Kvitova and her opponent today, Eugenie Bouchard, but one thing they share in common is how early they both take on the ball.
TV stats showed how Bouchard stands inside the court on almost all her returnpoints, whether on first or second serves.
She won’t be able to do that easily on Kvitova’s serve though.
Bouchard has already played a lefty this week, having beaten Angelique Kerber in the quarters but the German’s serve is not as big and varied as Kvitova’s.
For Kvitova, the plan should be fairly simple. Keep her first serve percentage up and her error count down.
For Bouchard, the Canadian must focus on her return game to make sure she can get into the rallies and dictate the way she likes to.
Kvitova, as a former champion, should have experience on her side but Bouchard hasn’t been showing much nerves so far this fortnight.
She draws confidence from having won the Wimbledon junior title two years ago and her overall results in majors this season have been much better than Kvitova’s – meaning she’s probably grown accustomed to the big stage.