Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kvitova Swoops In For First Wimbledon Title

Petra Kvitova savours the moment after acing Maria Sharapova on match point in the 2011 Wimbledon final.

Perhaps Petra Kvitova is the player that we've all been searching women's tennis for: that rare species of player that can dominate an era, let alone matches.

With Kvitova, you can see it, feel it, and now -- believe it.

Haven't you noticed?

These days, it's hard not to notice. There's so much potential in the 21-year-old Bilovec, Czechoslovakia native. So much game. So much unabashed leftiness.

"That lefty serve..." said fellow Czech native Martina Navratilova, after Kvitova's semi-final win over Victoria Azarenka, "...It was beautiful."

Call it 'leftiness' or call it 'fearlessness:' what we are really referring to is the pony-tailed phenom's ability to dominate her service games with alarming regularity. If Kvitova is going to continue at this pace in Slams (surrendering 6 breaks of serve in 7 matches) then we can pretty much write her in for a few more Venus Rosewater dishes, right?

If you want to know "What are the advantages of a lefty serve?" Martina Navratilova is the definitely the person to ask. And since you did, here is her take on the matter: "We just get on the outside (of the ball) more because we know we can get to the backhand," said the nine-times Wimbledon singles champ. "You practice it, use it more, therefore it becomes better."

In Kvitova's case it has gotten much, much better, but what is scary is that there still seems to be a ton of untapped potential in the 21-year old's lanky frame. Considering what she did to Maria Sharapova in today's Wimbledon singles final, that's a scary proposition.

"Well right now she's riding a big wave," said Martina. "She's in the top ten, still improving."

The numbers suggest Kvitova couldn't be better -- after all she's just won Wimbledon -- yet to witness Kvitova's game is to understand that she could. In spite of her glittering fortnight, Kvitova is still prone to stretches of discombobulation. It's natural, especially when considering her almost albatross-like build. "I think for Petra the key has always been to minimize the bad streaks of play," said Martina. "She's very streaky, which is good on the good side..."

Bad streaks aside, Kvitova is clearly figuring out how to win -- and win big -- by playing a courageous, swashbuckling brand of tennis. While her opponents might have the jazz, Petra's got the rock-n-roll. She does not allow her opponent any chances to find their rhythm, and they very rarely have the game or the quickness to defend her best shots.

In other words, it's giving them the blues.

Kvitova became the first Czech women to win a Grand Slam since 1998 on Saturday, with a breathtaking display of power that wowed even her opponent Maria Sharapova, a three-times Grand Slam champion herself. "She has a very powerful game," said Sharapova. "That's her strength. That's how she wins matches...sometimes it's just too good."

Kvitova, while thrilled to win, didn't seem totally blown away with her victory. Her dad may have been crying liberally after the match, but the first-time Wimbledon champ still had her wits about her.

"Sometimes my serve wasn't so good, and I have to keep mentally good," said Kvitova, after the match, while surrounded by journalists.

Already being hard on herself, just moments after her first Wimbledon victory? Sounds like a winner to me.

"I knew that I'd have to be first who is playing hard and who is making the points," said Kvitova. "So I tried it, and I did it."

As for her thoughts on what she was feeling when she won: "I don't know... It's strange," she said.

Maybe strange, but not surprising at all.


  1. We will be seeing her in GS semis and finals for years to come (maybe not at Roland Garros, although she did win Madrid on clay this year). We may be seeing Lisicki in more SFs and finals too.

    If I'm Wozniacki, I'm upset that someone my age (Kivitova is just 4 months older than Wozniacki) got a GS title before me, and I'm concerned that with Kvitova and Lisicki on the rise, and Serena and Clijsters returning, the road to my first GS just got a lot steeper.

  2. Well said Anonymous -- Wozniacki lacks the serve. It's the most important shot in the game. The fact that Kvitova's serve takes her opponents out of so many points bodes really well for her going forward. I agree with your projections...


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