There was a reason that Maria Sharapova did not play especially well in the women’s final at the All England Club on Saturday. It had to do with her opponent on the other side of the net, who simply outplayed Sharapova.
Kvitova won 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 25 minutes, making her the second woman in 2011 to win her first major. Li Na had accomplished that a month previously at Stade Roland Garros during the 2011 French Open.
It was interesting that Kvitova compared herself to the big-hitting, big-serving Argentine, Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in 2009 to win the U.S. Open––his first major. Their playing styles are quite similar, as both make use of their power and their on-court aggression to win matches.
Although most gave Sharapova the edge because of her experience in winning majors––in fact winning this title in 2004—Kvitova simply paid no attention to the pundits or the oddsmakers in winning this match.
Initially, it looked as though Sharapova would win because she began the match by breaking in the opening game chiefly on a pair of Kvitova forehand errors.
But the Czech responded aggressively and broke back, not allowing Sharapova to feel comfortable throughout the match. In fact, it became apparent right away that the former Wimbledon champion would have to dig down deep to come up with the strokes necessary to stay with Kvitova.
Then, the double faults crept into the Sharapova serve as she struggled to stay with the Czech. Her return game became her only inroad.
Sharapova kept fighting and managed to pull even in the second set. But that did not last long.
Eventually the superior power and shot-making of the Czech won out, serving for the set and the match.
Kvitova served it out at love, punctuating the last serve with an ace, her first of the match, to seal her first Wimbledon championship.