Kvitova beats Sharapova to win Wimbledon title

LONDON, (Reuters) – Nerveless 21-year-old Petra Kvitova delivered a remarkable performance of confidence and power to out-gun favourite Maria Sharapova and win the Wimbledon title for the first time with a convincing 6-3 6-4 victory yesterday.

Petra Kvitova

Kvitova, who had never won a match on grass before reaching the semi-finals last year, served consistently and maintained a barrage of powerful, attacking ground-strokes to become only the third left hander to win the women’s title after Anne Jones and Martina Navratilova.

Kvitova, appearing in her first grand slam final, was in control of her emotions and her game throughout and deservedly becomes the first Czech to triumph since Jana Novotna in 1998.

Sharapova, who won the title as a 17-year-old in 2004, had reached the final without dropping a set but served raggedly and the Russian fifth seed had no answers.

“I’m so happy,” the tearful champion said in an on-court interview before blowing a kiss to Novotna and Navratilova watching from the Royal Box.

“I was nervous but I had to focus on every point.”

The Czech looked understandably nervous as she was broken in the opening game but hit back immediately to level at 1-1.

She continued to make the running throughout the set, out-serving and out-hitting the former world number one, who delivered consecutive double faults to lose her service and slip 4-2 behind.

Kvitova, throwing in the occasional sliced backhand that caused Sharapova problems, served out to love.

In her semi-final against Victoria Azarenka, Kvitova played a convincing first set but allowed the Belarussian back to take the second so everyone around Centre Court waited with bated breath to see how she dealt with the pressure of leading the final.

They did not have to wait long as she broke Sharapova in the opening game after the Russian’s fifth double fault gave her a break point that she took with a crashing forehand down the line.

A break apiece had Kvitova on the brink when serving at 3-2 but she twice missed simple shots with the court gaping to allow Sharapova back into the match.

However, it proved a false dawn for the 2004 champion, who was appearing in her first final since the 2008 Australian Open after missing long periods with shoulder problems.

Kvitova, showing remarkable control of her nerves, broke back immediately and finished the match off in style by holding serve to love and signing the whole thing off with her first ace of the final.

Sharapova, whose endorsements make her the highest-paid sportswoman in the world, said: “I’m very happy to be back here with the runner’s up trophy but I wanted the “big one” and I will be back and I hope to get it again one day.”

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