Kvitova breaks through

AP
Petra Kvitova won her first Grand Slam title Saturday by beating Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final.
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WIMBLEDON, England --- One might reasonably have expected Petra Kvitova, not Maria Sharapova, to be betrayed by nerves in the Wimbledon final.

Petra Kvitova used powerful groundstrokes to keep Maria Sharapova on her heels in her straight sets win at Wimbledon on Saturday.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Petra Kvitova used powerful groundstrokes to keep Maria Sharapova on her heels in her straight sets win at Wimbledon on Saturday.

This was, after all, Kvitova's first Grand Slam championship match, while Sharapova already owned three major titles, including one from the All England Club. So Kvitova decided to pretend she was heading out on Centre Court to play in the fourth round.

That mindset worked. So, too, did nearly everything Kvitova tried once play began, particularly her big, flat left-handed groundstrokes that pushed Sharapova back on her heels. In a surprisingly lopsided final, Kvitova beat the higher-seeded, yet shakier, Sharapova 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday to win Wimbledon for her first Grand Slam trophy.

"I was surprised how I was feeling on the court," Kvitova said, "because I was focused only on the point and on the game and not on the final."

"She performed incredible," said the fifth-seeded Sharapova, who was playing in a major final for the first time since right shoulder surgery in October 2008. "Sometimes, when you don't know what to expect and you don't know how you're going to feel, sometimes you play your best, because you have that feeling of nothing to lose, She went for it, absolutely."

Before Wimbledon in 2010, Kvitova's career record on grass was 0-4. She is 16-2 on the slick surface since, including a run to the semifinals at Wimbledon last year before losing to Serena Williams.

At 21, Kvitova is the youngest Wimbledon champion since -- you guessed it -- Sharapova was 17 in 2004. Kvitova is also the first Czech to win the tournament since Jana Novotna in 1998.

Plus, Kvitova is only the third left-handed woman to win the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. The last was Martina Navratilova, who won her ninth Wimbledon title in 1990, a few months after Kvitova was born.


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