Petra Kvitova shocked former Wimbledon Champion Maria Sharapova with an outstanding display of powerful tennis to lift her maiden Grand Slam at the All England Club on Saturday.
Equally surprising was the dominant display shown by Novak Djokovic who cemented his new world number one ranking by handing out a four-set defeat to Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard’s first at SW19 since the 2007 final on Sunday.
Kvitova’s shot-making ability proved too much for Sharapova as she became the first Czech woman to triumph here since Jana Novotna in 1998, while she also became the first left-hander since another Czech great, Martina Navratilova, won the title back in 1990.
The match saw eight breaks of serve as both players displayed aggression in their play, but it was the 21-year-old Kvitova, in her maiden Grand Slam final, who held on to more of her service games to see out the 6-3, 6-4 victory.
The 24-year-old Sharapova also contributed six double faults, taking her total to a tournament-high 38, and although she fluffed one less unforced error than Kvitova, her nine fewer winners didn’t help her cause either.
Kvitova’s main weapons, other than her shot selection, included her ferocious service return that left Sharapova rooted to the spot on many an occasion as the ball whizzed past her. As her body language sagged, Kvitova’s shoulders continued to rise until her first ace of the match secured the win and saw the coveted Venus Rosewater Dish in her hands.
On Sunday, the recently dominant Nadal took on 2011’s dominant force Djokovic in what promised to be a tantalising encounter.
While we weren’t treated to a five-set classic, the tennis showcased by Djokovic was mesmerising and Nadal had very little in even his vast array of weapons to halt the Serbian.
The 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 scoreline did not flatter the 24-year-old who registered his fifth win over the Spaniard this year, all in finals, and a momentous 50th win in 51 matches in 2011.
The Serb only let up the pace for a short while in the third set but it was enough for Nadal to take it comfortably.
Djokovic’s shot selection returned, though, as he found corners with some excellent cross-court efforts including one on the slide when it seemed Nadal had pulled off an exquisite drop shot to leave the contender stranded at the back of the court.
Nadal received a few fortuitous net-cords as he searched for a way back in to match but this isn’t the mentally fragile Djokovic of two years ago who may have let such things get to him.
A poor game for Nadal at 3-4 in the fourth set gave Djokovic a sight of his third Grand Slam title and he didn’t let it slip, securing victory when Nadal sent a forehand long and the two-time Aussie Open winner sank to the floor in delight.