Petra Kvitova is the Wimbledon women’s singles champion once more, the Czech star adding to her 2011 win with a barnstorming triumph over Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard on Day 12 at the All England Club.
Day 12 Recap
Bouchard, playing in her first ever Grand Slam final, did not look fazed initially, holding her opening service game and striking the ball with precision. But it soon became apparent that Kvitova was in the zone on Day 12 in London, the Czech breaking serve in the third game and holding serve in the next game courtesy of a brilliant one-handed backhand winner after an entertaining all-court rally.
Enjoying an 82 percent success rate on her first serve points, and smacking winners at will (she would eventually tally 28 winners for the match), Kvitova forged ahead, claiming another break as the young Canadian was rendered helpless on Centre Court. Bouchard had one chance to get back in the match, when a couple of loose shots from the sixth seed at 5-2 handed Bouchard one of the breaks back. But Kvitova immediately refocused, breaking in the very next game to claim the opening set, 6-3.
The second set was one-way traffic, with Kvitova not dropping a game en route to a 6-3 6-0 win in 55 minutes – the fastest women’s final at Wimbledon for 31 years. Amazingly, Bouchard only committed 4 unforced errors for the match. Unfortunately for the Canadian, she was simply unable to match Kvitova in terms of power or pure shot-making ability, the Czech champion playing one of the matches of her life as she claimed her second Wimbledon title in 4 years.
For Bouchard, it was a tremendous run to the final, and further cemented her spot as one of the new stars of the WTA Tour. No doubt the Canadian will learn from this experience and be back in a major final before long. For Kvitova, the win underlined her enormous talent, especially on grass, and if she can stay healthy and motivated then I think she has the ability to win several more titles at the All England Club.
Match of the Day – Day 13
Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer
This will be showdown number 35 for Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but amazingly the pair has only played each other once in a Grand Slam final – the US Open way back in 2007, when Federer swept a youthful Djokovic in straight sets. Plenty has changed since that time, with Federer’s reign at the top of the rankings ending and Djokovic narrowing the gap in their head-to-head matches in the last few years (Federer now leads the Serb 18-16 in career meetings).
After various back-related issues in 2013, Federer has looked revitalized so far in 2014, a larger racquet also helping as he made the semi-finals in Melbourne, beat Djokovic en route to the Dubai title, and defended his title in Halle. The Swiss star has dropped only one set on his way to the final of this tournament, and has lost his serve just once as well. Federer is full of confidence at present, is comfortable on his favorite surface at his favourite tournament, and deep down must know that this match represents perhaps one of his last chances to add to his tally of major titles.
After winning almost everything there was to win in 2011 (except for the French Open, where he lost to Federer), Djokovic has found it hard to maintain such lofty standards, and hasn’t claimed a major since last year’s Australian Open. That said, the Serb has consistently been in and around the major finals over the last couple of seasons, and with a bit of luck Djokovic’s Grand Slam tally could be in the double figures by now. As it stands, the top seed has 6 majors to his name, including the 2011 Wimbledon championship, and he will be desperate to add to that collection in front of coach Boris Becker, a 3-time Wimbledon champion.
I think this contest is almost a flip of the coin. Djokovic has been more consistent over the past few years, but Federer has looked better and spent less time on court this fortnight and is on his preferred surface. If the roof is closed, that will help Federer, although both players are incredibly adaptable performers.
To my mind, the return of serve battle will be crucial. Djokovic hasn’t been at his best at SW19 so far this year, but is the world’s best returner in my opinion. If he can get some traction on Federer’s second serve, and force the Swiss star to be more reluctant to attack the net, then the Serb will be in the driver’s seat. However, if Federer can maintain his impressive serving form from the last few matches, and Djokovic exhibits the patchy form he showcased against Cilic and Dimitrov, then major number 18 could be headed Federer’s way.
I’m predicting this to be a cracking contest, with Federer’s current form and greater assuredness on grass being the decisive factors in a close match. Unlike against Nadal, Federer matches up well against Djokovic and I sense he will find just enough in his bag of tricks to edge past the top seeded Djokovic.
Federer in 5.
That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow to review the men’s final. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter: @satelliteserve.