For the second time in four years, Petra Kvitova is Wimbledon champion as she decimated 13th-seeded Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0 in Saturday's ladies' final at the All England Club.
The sixth-seeded Czech played nearly flawless tennis and never really gave her Canadian opponent an opportunity to get comfortable in her first career Grand Slam final.
According to SI Tennis, Kvitova simply turned in a virtuoso performance on the biggest stage possible:
Petra Kvitova routs Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0 to win her second #Wimbledon title. An absolute masterclass of power grass court tennis.— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) July 5, 2014
Douglas Robson of USA Today also lauded Kvitova for what may have been the most impressive match of her career:
That was not even vintage Kvitova. That was new, focused, dictating, start-to-finish Kvitova. #wimbledon— Douglas Robson (@dougrobson) July 5, 2014
BBC Tennis noted the incredibly quick time in which the Czech star finished:
Wimbledon's official Twitter feed noted how Kvitova felt about the dominant win:
#Kvitova "I can’t say that it’s more special, but after three years to stand here with the trophy again is amazing."— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 5, 2014
While Bouchard was ultimately blown out of the water by Kvitova, the fact of the matter is that she is ahead of schedule in terms of contending for major titles.
Despite Bouchard's success at Grand Slams throughout the 2014 season, her meteoric rise to the Wimbledon final came as a surprise to many. One person who wasn't shocked, though, was Bouchard herself, per WTATennis.com.
I'm not surprised to be in the final, because I've put in a lot of hard work and it's been years in the making. I believe in myself and I expect good results and I always want more. I've had a good start to the season, but I expect myself to do even better than that and that's what I'm going to try and do.
Bouchard talked about the loss after the match, according to Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times:
"It was really tough for me today, but I'm proud of how I've played this whole tournament. I love coming back to #Wimbledon."-Genie Bouchard— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 5, 2014
Bouchard has been viewed as a future star by many over the past couple years, but she has started to prove that the future is now. Although Kvitova is four years older than Bouchard, she is young in her own right at 24. In fact, the two young guns made history in Saturday's final, according to Wimbledon's official Twitter account:
30 minutes to go until Kvitova & Bouchard take to court. This will be the 1st Slam final featuring two players born in the 1990s #Wimbledon— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 5, 2014
That fact bodes well for the future of women's tennis, as both Kvitova and Bouchard figure to be contending for titles for many years to come. Saturday marked their first meeting in a Grand Slam final, but it may not be their last.
The quality of the match was incredibly high due largely to the fact that they have such contrasting styles, although it was ultimately Kvitova's day. Kvitova is a tall, powerful player, while Bouchard is smaller and quicker. Per TSN's Mark Masters, that clash of styles was particularly evident in terms of serving statistics:
Kvitova leads tournament in aces; Bouchard leads in 1st serve return points … something's gotta give today— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) July 5, 2014
Serving predictably played a huge role in the match. Kvitova is one of the best servers in the women's game, which is something that Bouchard had to combat.
According to ESPN's Chris Fowler, the match was played with the roof open:
A closed roof tends to favor big hitters like Kvitova due to the controlled environment, so that decision definitely worked in Bouchard's favor. Despite that, the slightly favored Czech gained an early advantage.
Following a hold from each competitor to start the match, Kvitova was able to secure a break. Since she drops serve so infrequently, even a single break is absolutely huge for her in terms of gaining the advantage in a set.
That break clearly got the ball rolling for Kvitova in terms of confidence, as she proceeded to play inspired tennis throughout the opening set. That was evident when she held to go up 3-1 as she played an absolutely incredible point, per Tom Perrotta of the Wall Street Journal:
That's the best point Petra Kvitova has ever played; ends with a flick BH winner. Why? Because no one could play a better point than that.— Tom Perrotta (@TomPerrotta) July 5, 2014
Bouchard had Kvitova scrambling throughout the point and it seemed like Kvitova was dead to rights, but she somehow managed to get everything back and punctuated it with a perfectly angled backhand.
The pair continued to trade holds of serve, but it was blatantly obvious that Kvitova was the more comfortable and confident player. According to Rothenberg, Kvitova was hitting on all cylinders:
This is the best Petra Kvitova has played the whole tournament. Up 4-2 on Genie Bouchard, hitting winners nearly at will. #Wimbledon— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 5, 2014
It was difficult to not be impressed as even tennis legend John McEnroe waxed poetic about Kvitova's form:
Forehand smacked by Petra Kvitova to take a 5-2 lead. "Some of the best tennis you'll ever see on this court," says John McEnroe. #Wimbledon— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 5, 2014
While Kvitova seemed poised to roll to an easy first-set triumph, Bouchard managed to get back into it by breaking Kvitova to make it 5-3. Bouchard created a golden opportunity for herself, but she was unable to capitalize on it as Kvitova broke right back to win the set.
As pointed out by BBC Tennis, Kvitova was the aggressor and hit more decisive shots, which was ultimately the difference:
Bouchard desperately needed to get off to a good start in the second in order to curtail Kvitova's momentum, but Kvitova was simply locked in.
After holding to start the second set, Kvitova was once again able to break Bouchard and put her against the ropes. Kvitova consolidated with another fantastic service game, which was the norm for her throughout the match, according to Neil Harman of The Times:
An ace splits the T. The Kvitova serve almost flawless. She holds for 3-0. Crackerjack tennis from her— Neil Harman (@NeilHarmanTimes) July 5, 2014
Although the result of the match already seemed like a foregone conclusion, Kvitova removed all doubt when she broke Bouchard again in spectacular fashion to go up 4-0, per Sportsnet's Arash Madani:
Bouchard drops her head as another cross-court winner flies by. Shoulder slump. She knows it's over. Bouchard broken again. Kvitova up 4-0.— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) July 5, 2014
The final two games of the match were academic; Kvitova took them both and forced Bouchard to put up a bagel.
This victory puts Kvitova in rarefied air, as she is just the 22nd female player to win multiple Wimbledon titles. WTA director Kevin Fischer passed along another impressive statistic:
Although Kvitova has had her ups and downs since taking the Wimbledon championship in 2011, she has reestablished herself as an elite player.
With Serena Williams struggling, Maria Sharapova playing inconsistently and Victoria Azarenka dealing with injuries, Kvitova has emerged as a candidate to potentially make a run at the No. 1 ranking in the world as the year progresses.
Fischer added that this win will at least bump her up one spot:
The big challenge for her at this point is proving that she can get the job done on surfaces other than grass. Kvitova has never reached a Grand Slam final anywhere other than the All England Club, and she has never advanced past the fourth round at the upcoming U.S. Open.
Which player will be the next one to win a Grand Slam?
Kvitova's game should lead to some hard-court success, and it could finally come together this year in New York since she is playing with the utmost confidence.
As for Bouchard, the loss is obviously disappointing, but it doesn't take away from what she has accomplished in 2014. She has reached at least the semis at all three Grand Slams played so far this year and definitely has a chance to do so at the U.S. Open as well.
The fact that she is playing consistently great tennis at major tournaments despite being just 20 years of age suggests that a Grand Slam title isn't too far away.
It didn't happen at Wimbledon, but she will have plenty more chances. Even if Bouchard had played her best, she would have had trouble beating Kvitova on Saturday.
It can be argued that Kvitova has never played a better match, so there is no question that she earned the second Wimbledon title of her burgeoning career.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter