WIMBLEDON HAS A new Ladies champion after a supreme display from Petra Kvitova saw her claim a straight sets 6-3, 6-4 win over former number one Maria Sharapova.
The Czech had never won a match on grass before her run to the semi-final at the tournament last year and was broken in the very first game after her Russian opponent opted to let her serve.
That would be the only time, however, that Kvitova found herself behind in the entire contest as she broke right back before surging into a surprise 5-2 lead.
Sharapova was a heavy favourite ahead of the final but she, simply, could not hold on to her serve. Kvitova maintained her composure throughout and moved a set and 2-0 ahead before the Russian showed any of her famed fighting spirit.
The world number six broke to level the second set at 2-2 but it was not to be the start of a comeback as a superbly-placed winner from Kvitova – right to the very left corner of Sharapova’s court – saw her edge out a fresh advantage.
Much to the delight of her entourage, Sharapova kept battling. She forced the second set back to 3-3 but when final nerves might have set in and affected a lesser opponent, Kvitova was still able to keep her rival on the back foot, applying pressure to every serve.
Sharapova gave herself some hope by holding for 3-5 but Kvitova closed out the match with her first ace of the day, with three Championship points to spare, before dropping to her knees in celebration.
“It’s hard to find some words if I’m standing here with the trophy and see the great players in the Royal Box,” Kvitova said afterwards. “Well, I’m so happy that I won.”
“Of course, I was nervous. I thought I can win Wimbledon. But I had to focus on each point.”
A disappointed Sharapova added: “I’ve had amazing support over so many years and to be back at this stage and holding the runner-up trophy this year is something. … Obviously I would have wanted that big one. It’s something I’m going to be back for and I’m hoping to get again.”
- Additional reporting from AP