Petra Kvitova beats Maria Sharapova for Wimbledon women's title

WIMBLEDON, England — Not a bad day's work for women's tennis.

In new Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, it has a new star. In runnerup Maria Sharapova, it has a star reborn. So just why were so many so down about the state of the women's game not so long ago?

Kvitova (pronounced kuh-VIT-uh-vuh), who won her first major title Saturday 6-3, 6-4 over Sharapova, cracks forehands and backhands like Indiana Jones' whip. Her left-handed serve, particularly when thumped down out wide, is slippery for righties such as Sharapova to grab hold of.

Kvitova, 21, showed the same fearlessness that Sharapova wowed Centre Court with as an insouciant 17-year-old champion in 2004. She's the complete package, with the cool-under-pressure poise that allows champions to convert opportunities into trophies.

Kvitova, seeded eighth, is only the third left-handed woman to win the grasscourt Grand Slam event. The last was Martina Navratilova in 1990. Kvitova joined Navratilova and Jana Novotna, who were in attendance, as the only Czech-born women to win a Wimbledon singles title.

"I don't think this is the only time she'll win here," said Navratilova, who won 18 major singles titles, including nine Wimbledons. "It's very exciting. A new star."

Since the Open era began in 1968, most women — two-thirds, to be precise — have lost their first Grand Slam final. Kvitova, whose previous Grand Slam best was a Wimbledon semifinal last year, looked at home on the unfamiliar stage.

"I was surprised how I was feeling on the court," she said, "because I was focused only on the point and on the game and not on the final.

"It's still (an) unbelievable feeling (winning). Maybe I'll accept it after, I don't know, some days."

Nerves and overhit forehands cost Kvitova her first service game. But those in the crowd who wondered whether she might wilt from that point quickly got their answer when Kvitova immediately broke back.

"She performed incredible," said the fifth-seeded Sharapova, playing in a major final for the first time since right shoulder surgery in October 2008. "Sometimes, when you don't know what to expect and you don't know how you're going to feel, sometimes you play your best, because you have that feeling of nothing to lose. She went for it, absolutely."

Sharapova's serve was one of her problems. She had six double faults, including three in a row over two games at one point in the first set. That, however, was fewer than the 13 she misfired in her semifinal victory over wild-card Sabine Lisicki.

"I think there were a lot of things that I could have done better besides the serve," said Sharapova, who hadn't lost a set at this tournament (12-0) entering the final.

But reaching the final after coming back from a career-threatening injury that required her to remake her serve, among other things, is a big step in the right direction for Sharapova.

"My game is improving, and … it gives me a tremendous amount of confidence going forward," she said. "I just want to be a better player and want to keep working."

Doubles: Wesley Chapel residents Bob and Mike Bryan won a record-equaling 11th Grand Slam title, beating Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) in the men's final. The twin brothers won at Wimbledon for the second time to match Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge's Open era record of 11 majors. In the women's final, Katarina Srebotnik and Kveta Peschke won their first Grand Slam title by defeating Tampa resident Samantha Stosur and Lisicki 6-3, 6-1.

>>Today

Wimbledon men's final

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Novak Djokovic (2), 9 a.m. TV: Ch. 8

no. 1 vs. no. 1: The current (Nadal) and future (Djoko­vic) top-ranked men meet today for the title. 6C

Match stats

KvitovaSharapova

66 First serve pct. 76

1 Aces 3

4 Double faults 6

13 Unforced errors 12

72 First serve win pct. 58

36 Second serve win pct. 27

19Winners (include service)10

5-9 Break points 3-5

5-9 Net points 3-3

70 Total points won 58

113 Fastest serve mph 113

99 Avg. first serve mph 100

92 Avg. second serve mph 92

1:25 Match time

Petra Kvitova beats Maria Sharapova for Wimbledon women's title 07/02/11 [Last modified: Sunday, July 3, 2011 12:58am]

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