Wimbledon 2014 saw many of the big names in women's tennis dispatched from the tournament early on, which means two players now have a golden opportunity to force their way into the public consciousness with a title in London.
Unlike the current epoch in men's tennis, where the Grand Slams are routinely dominated by a select Big Four—although this iteration of Wimbledon has upset that natural order to some degree—women's tennis features a much larger rotating cast of stars and challengers making runs to tournament finals.
This edition of Wimbledon is no different, as the women's final will see No. 6 Petra Kvitova take on the young No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard for the right to hoist the trophy at the All England Club.
Here is the broadcast schedule, live stream link and match info for the women's final, followed by a preview and prediction for the outcome.
|Date||Court Time (ET)||Broadcast (ET)||TV||Matchup||Prediction|
|July 5||Centre Court, 9:00 a.m.||9:00 a.m. - 3 p.m.||ESPN||(6) Petra Kvitova vs. (13) Eugenie Bouchard||Kvitova in three sets|
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Women's Wimbledon Final Preview and Prediction
Bouchard is making her first appearance in a Grand Slam final, while Kvitova is looking for her second Wimbledon championship. She defeated Maria Sharapova in the final in 2011.
Sportnet's Caroline Cameron noted that Kvitova defeated her young challenger rather handily in their last meeting:
Genie and Kvitova have played once before - last year at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Kvitova won in straights. New year, new Genie, new match— Caroline Cameron (@SNCaroline) July 3, 2014
This gives Kvitova a distinct advantage in terms of experience, but Bouchard has been waiting for this moment for a very long time. Via The Guardian's Simon Cambers:
I was nine [when she decided to be a tennis player] and since that age I dreamt of winning a grand slam. As for this year, it’s been a long time in the making, for it to finally come together, all the hard work, the talent I know I have, the effort I put in, for it to produce results on the match court.
She also has plenty of momentum on her side. The 20-year-old Canadian assuaged any fears about getting overwhelmed by the moment in her convincing 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win over Simona Halep in the semi-final. Better yet, Bouchard has yet to drop a single set in this tournament.
Kvitova will look to play aggressive tennis and rely on her sizzling serve. The 24-year-old Czech leads the ladies' draw with 38 aces so far in the tournament. This does play into one of Bouchard's strengths, as she has notched 116 points returning the first serve in this tournament to lead all players.
Kvitova also had to overcome a top player just to make it to this point. She defeated countrywoman Lucie Safarova in straight sets in the semi-finals. ESPN Tennis noted that Safarova was on a roll of her own in this tournament until she ran into the former Wimbledon champion:
Former tennis pro and 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert did notice a potentially fatal flaw in Bouchard's game.
“Impatience,” Evert said, via the Toronto Sun's Mike Koreen. “She goes for every single shot, but there are days when she misses." Bouchard had 43 unforced errors in her previous two matches, although Kvitova was not far behind with 37 since the quarter-finals.
If Kvitova can use her strong serve to get Bouchard off balance and wait for mistakes in the longer rallies, she should come out on top in this one. However, expect Bouchard to take a set before Kvitova holds the trophy.
Prediction: Kvitova wins in three sets
All match stats courtesy of Wimbledon.com, unless otherwise noted.