Saturday's main attraction in London was an ugly rout, but an important one nonetheless as the landscape of tennis shifts to a new era.
Wimbledon showcased the women's side of the sport on Day 12 in a heavyweight final between Petra Kvitova and Eugenie Bouchard, two younger stars who personify what the 2014 season has been about (a forceful removal of those in power such as Serena Williams), in favor of a new brand of contenders.
The sixth-seeded Czech put together a flawless performance to seize her second title in four years:
As a result, the floodgates are now open in regards to implications surrounding the outcome. Let's take a look.
Day 12 Results
|No. 6 Petra Kvitova def. No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard||6-3, 6-0|
Petra Kvitova is Here to Stay as Old Guard Fades
The Kvitova era has arrived, and BBC Tennis helps to nail down the context of its beginnings:
Serena Williams bowed out in the third round to Alize Cornet (6-1, 3-6, 4-6). The same goes for Li Na, who fell to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (6-7, 6-7). Maria Sharapova was felled in the Round of 16 by Angelique Kerber (6-7, 6-4, 4-6).
It goes on, but the point is rather simple—while former dominant players continue to flounder, Kvitova continues her meteoric rise to the top.
While great that she has won in London twice in the past four years, the more important takeaway is that she only continues to get better.
It is very easy to forget she is only 24 years old.
In her 55-minute rout of the younger Bouchard, Kvitova was flawless and put on display a form of which fans have never seen from her. As USA Today's Douglas Robson and Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times muse:
That was not even vintage Kvitova. That was new, focused, dictating, start-to-finish Kvitova. #wimbledon— Douglas Robson (@dougrobson) July 5, 2014
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
Wicked backhands and sizzling groundstrokes nullified many of Bouchards's strengths, including her ability to drag sets out before winning. Her 28 winners were 20 more than her opponent's tally, with the roof open no less, meaning a power hitter like Kvitova was technically at a disadvantage.
As a result of perhaps the best performance of her career, Kvitova will move up to No. 5 on the Road to Singapore leaderboard, no small feat as she continues to prove her worth among the world's best.
No stranger to living in the shadows of more recognizable stars, Kvitova put a violent halt to her underrated status on Saturday. With some of the best points of her career bleeding into her best performance to date, it's apparent her prime is just around the corner—and isn't going anywhere for quite some time.
Eugenie Bouchard Can Hold Head High
Unlike Sharapova in 2004, Bouchard was not able to overcome a past champion as a No. 13 seed to secure her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
That doesn't mean the comparisons have to come to a screeching halt.
Bouchard was outplayed by a seemingly unstoppable force on Saturday, which is verified by the fact she only hit four unforced errors. Rothenberg captured her mood after the lopsided outcome had finally come to an end:
"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
There's no shame in losing to an opponent as great as Kvitova, especially at just 20 years old. Remember, Bouchard was the one to down Cornet in the fourth round (7-6, 7-5) and Kerber later on (6-3, 6-4), the players who had taken down Williams and Sharapova, respectively.
Also remember she has now made an appearance in the semifinals of the Australian and French Opens, as well as the spectacle in London. It's an alarming amount of consistency for a player so young, who one day has aspirations to take the top spot at Wimbledon, as illustrated by the tournament's Twitter account:
"After the match I was in the engravers room watching them work, wishing and dreaming that they'll write my name there one day" - Bouchard— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 5, 2014
Clearly, a Grand Slam triumph is not far out for Bouchard. Even the best of the best would have struggled with Kvitova given her form on Saturday, so it's not a defeat the young Canadian should take too seriously.
It's a matter of time before Bouchard's consistency and talent bubble over. Given her age, that's a scary thought indeed for the rest of the tennis world.