July 5, 2014
Petra Kvitova produced one of the best performances in the history of Wimbledon finals to swipe aside Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0.
The 24-year-old Czech, Wimbledon’s 2011 champion, suffered no nerves and began her demolition job almost from the first moment. The legendary John McEnroe described Kvitova’s first seven games as ‘some of the best tennis you’ll ever see on Centre Court. An incredible level of tennis.’
Kvitova broke early and consolidated with an extraordinary cross-court backhand after phenomenal defence. Petra had break points to go 4-1 up in the first but Genie battled back bravely to stay in contention. But Kvitova was merciless for the next two games and completely outclassed her younger opponent to storm to a 5-2 lead.
Bouchard, still only 20, was serving double faults under massive pressure and returning too short. But she read Kvitova’s serve much better in the eighth game and finally broke back to breath new life into the contest.
Unfortunately for the Canadian, Kvitova treated Genie’s next service game with fresh disdain to set up three set points. Bouchard saved two but another fierce return closed out the set in just 32 minutes.
The pattern didn’t change at the start of the second. Kvitova focused once more and began newly destructive work to storm to a 3-0 lead. A stunning cross-court forehand was the key to extending that lead further still. Centre Court began to feel sorry for Bouchard, just as we pitied Sabine Lisicki a year earlier when she ran into an onslaught from Marion Bartoli.
Petra’s serve grew stronger still as she went 5-0 ahead and the watching Bartoli smiled in disbelief. Princess Eugenie, after whom the Canadian was said to be named, watched from the Royal Box with a concerned expression on her face. This was a one-sided sporting slaughter, yet you had to admire the ruthless efficiency which put Genie back in her bottle.
Any point Bouchard won was met with sympatheic cheers but the first championship point came after just 54 minutes. It only took one. A stunning cross-court backhand finished it and she lay spread on Centre Court, in awe perhaps at her own brilliance.
McEnroe concluded: ‘It’s hard to put into words how good she was.’
That said it all.