July 5, 2014

No Contest

Petra Kvitova came into Wimbledon flying way under most people's radar.

The former world #2 had fallen a bit down the rankings since her breakthrough year in 2011, and though she's remained a staple in the top ten since, she hadn't reached a final all season and even pulled out of her Eastbourne quarter with thigh injury. And after dropping her opening set to five-time champion Venus Williams in her third round at the All England Club, she came within two points of being sent home from London in the first week -- what would have been her earliest exit here since 2009.

But the still-young Czech dug deep once the scare passed and, with one favorite after another falling in the rounds that followed, by the time we reached the quarters, one-Slam Kvitova was somehow the most experienced player left standing.

And that experience showed Saturday against quickly-rising Genie Bouchard, who'd definitively backed up her performances in Melbourne and Paris with her first two career top ten victories this fortnight. But while the 2012 Girls' champion didn't seem too overwhelmed by the implications of her Grand Slam final debut -- she only committed four unforced errors and never lost her cool on the big stage -- she was far outplayed by Kvitova, who dropped just five points on first serve and fired of twenty-eight winners compared to only eight from her opponent. In just under an hour the rock-solid Petra had added Wimbledon trophy #2 to her resumé.

The 6-3, 6-0 win was the most one-sided women's final at the All England Club since Steffi Graf beat Monica Seles in 1992, and was reminiscent of the dominating show Kvitova put on three years ago against a far more decorated foe. But while she was the on-paper favorite this time around, the victory was no less impressive and hopefully paves the road for even more success this year.

Something tells me, though, that tomorrow's final between Novak Djokovic and seven-time champion Roger Federer will be a little closer to call. Of course, Nole's only title here came the same year as first one Kvitova's did, but Roger's playing some of the best tennis we've seen from him in a long time -- and he's certainly going to do his best to make sure we don't have déjà vu again.

And, truth be told, I hope he does just that.

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