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Petra Kvitova beats Maria Sharapova, wins first Wimbledon title

July 2, 2011 |  8:00 am

Tennis6
Petra Kvitova,
a 6-footer from the Czech Republic who had never been in a major tournament final, wowed the Centre Court crowd with her controlled power and craft lefty serving, and overpowered 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova Saturday in the Wimbledon final.

With an aggressive ending ace, the eighth-seeded Kvitova won her first major title, beating fifth-seeded Sharapova 6-3, 6-4 Saturday. The 21-year-old is the youngest Wimbledon winner since Sharapova beat Serena Williams in the finals seven years ago as a 17-year-old.

Even though this was her first major tournament final, Kvitova served out the win with a love game, taking the first point with a blasting backhand winner. It was Sharapova who made errors on the next two points, knocking in a row, a forehand and then a backhand into the net. That let Kvitova feel free enough to go for the big serve and it was a no-nonsense ace.

Kvitova, is the first left-hander since Martina Navratilova (who was watching from the Royal Box) to win here.

It wasn't until after the match that Kvitova seemed to realize the occasion. Her voice shook when she spoke to the crowd in a way that her hands did not during the match.

When on-court presenter Sue Barker asked Kvitova if she was ready to do a lap of honor with the winner's trophy, though, Kvitova's voice was strong. "Yes," she said, "I'm ready."

She said, though, she had been nervous during the match. "Of course I was," she said. "I felt I can win Wimbledon. I had to focus on each point and what was important."

While Sharapova's biggest trouble spot, her serve, gave her a little trouble (she had six double faults), the loss was caused more by Kvitova's unrelenting pressure from the baseline and also the variety of slices and change-of-pace shots.

Kvitova became the eighth woman in the open era of tennis to win her first major at Wimbledon. The others -- Billie Jean King, Ann Jones, Navratilova, Conchita Martinez, Jana Novotna, Venus Williams and Sharapova.

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-- Diane Pucin in Wimbledon, England

Photo: Petra Kvitova celebrates following her victory over Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon women's singles final on Saturday. Credit: Anja Niedringhaus / Associated Press

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