Kvitova upsets Sharapova to win title

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Kvitova upsets Sharapova to win title

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Petra Kvitova, left, of the Czech Republic, and Russia’s Maria Sharapova hold their trophies after Kvitova defeated Sharapova in the women’s singles final at the Wimbledon Championships in London, Saturday. [AP/YONHAP]


LONDON - Soft-spoken 21-year-old Czech Petra Kvitova celebrated her Wimbledon singles title with a shy smile on Saturday, a stark contrast to the destructive tennis she employed to destroy former champion Maria Sharapova on Centre Court.

Rarely in her career has baseline blaster Sharapova been so overpowered on a tennis court, but the 2004 champion and former world No. 1 had no answer on Saturday as she was made to look like a lightweight in a comprehensive 6-3, 6-4 defeat.

Sharapova’s imposing fiance, NBA player Sasha Vujacic, watched on in her box and there were times when he must have been tempted to run on and protect his future bride from the kind battering she usually inflicts on opponents.

With impeccable timing, eighth seed Kvitova saved her one ace for match point but the damage from her wicked left-handed delivery and meaty groundstrokes was already done.

“I knew that I had to be the first who is playing hard and who is making the points, so I tried it,” said Kvitova, the first player born in the 1990s to win a grand slam title.

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She struggled to put her achievement into words.

“It was an unbelievable feeling, for sure,” she said. “I was so happy. I don’t know. It’s strange.”

Kvitova is the first Czech to win the Wimbledon singles since Jana Novotna in 1998 and only the third left-hander to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish in the professional era.

Martina Navratilova, the best lefty of all time, who last lifted the dish here in 1990, sat in the royal box along with Novotna, and both would have been mightily impressed by Kvitova’s composure and fearless hitting.

They would have found it hard to relate to the kind of tennis served up on the showpiece occasion, however.

Rallies came and went in the blink of an eye, volleys were virtually redundant, as was the slice, apart from the sliding first serves which Kvitova used to great effect to outwit the long-limbed Sharapova.

That tends to be the way with the new breed of baseline sluggers, but while the match will not feature in many highlights packages it was proof that Kvitova is ready to become a regular threat at grand slams.

A semifinalist here last year when she lost to eventual champion Serena Williams after arriving at Wimbledon without a grasscourt win to her name, Kvitova’s game is lethal on fast surfaces.

Despite a nervy opening game when she dropped her serve after being asked to start by Sharapova, she quickly began peppering the baseline with whistling groundstrokes that gave Sharapova no chance to open her broad shoulder and launch her own grass burners.

Sharapova was continually playing catch-up in the rallies as Kvitova got the first blow in and spent much of a cool afternoon in southwest London half-volleying from the baseline as the eighth seed pounded the baseline.

Kvitova took the opening set in 40 minutes, the first set Sharapova had dropped all tournament, and only briefly did she wobble as the finish line neared in the second.

The Czech went up 2-0 but Sharapova fought back to 2-2 when Kvitova watched a lob float over her head after failing to put away a simple forehand with wide open spaces beckoning.

Thoughts turned to the turning point in Rafael Nadal’s semifinal defeat of Andy Murray when his opponent fluffed a similar shot, but Kvitova was made of sterner stuff and refused to let one of the game’s fiercest competitors take command.

Three consecutive breaks of serve followed but Kvitova held to lead 5-3 and although Sharapova then held to at least make Kvitova serve for victory, the expected attack of nerves did not materialize.

A couple of clubbing forehands and then a desperate Sharapova lash into the net brought up three match points. Kvitova needed just the one, bashing a serve down the middle before tossing her racket over her shoulder in celebration.

“I was surprised how I was feeling on the court because I was focused only on the point and on the game and not on the final and the medal,” said Kvitova, who added that she cried after meeting Novotna and Navratilova afterwards.

It was a chastening experience for Sharapova, although after fearing for her career in 2008 when she needed surgery on her shoulder she has proved that, at 24, she still has the class to add to her three grand slam titles.

Reuters

한글 관련 기사 [뉴스엔]
크비토바, 샤라포바 꺾고 생애 첫 윔블던 여자단식 우승 감격

페트라 크비토바(8위·체코)가 윔블던 테니스대회(총상금 1,460만파운드) 여자단식 정상에 올랐다.

크비토바는 지난 7월 2일(현지시간) 영국 윔블던의 올잉글랜드 클럽에서 열린 대회 12일째 여자단식 결승에서 마리아 샤라포바(6위·러시아)를 2-0(6-3 6-4)으로 꺾고 우승했다.

지난 2010년 이 대회 4강 진출이 메이저대회 최고 성적이던 크비토바는 체코 선수로는 1998년 야나 노보트나 이후 13년 만에 윔블던 정상에 오르는 기록을 만들며 우승 상금 110만 파운드(약 18억8,000만원)까지 챙기는 기쁨을 누렸다.

반면 2004년 17살의 나이로 윔블던 타이틀을 차지한 이후 7년만에 결승에 올랐던 샤라포바는 준결승까지 단 한 세트도 내주지 않고 우승컵을 향해 직행했지만 떠오르는 신예 크비토바를 상대하기에는 역부족이었다.


이날 경기는 샤라포바가 우세할 것이라는 예상과 달리 크비토바가 왼손잡이의 장점을 이용, 구석구석을 노리는 공격으로 샤라포바를 코트 좌우로 많이 흔들면서 경기를 일방적으로 주도해 나갔다.

1세트 2-2 동점 상황에서 크비토바는 샤라포바의 서브게임을 연속으로 깨버리는 등 내리 3경기를 따내 균형을 깼다. 반면 샤라포바는 1세트에서만 4개의 더블폴트를 기록하는 등 범실을 이어갔다.

2세트에서도 크비토바는 연속 두 게임을 따내 경기를 쉽게 풀어가는 듯 했다. 하지만 샤라포바도 만만치 않은 반격에 나서며 내리 두 게임을 가져왔다. 이후 두 선수는 나란히 상대의 서브게임을 브레이크하는 등 팽팽한 경기 양상을 보였다.

하지만 크비토바는 3-3 동점에서 샤라포바의 서브게임을 따내 승기를 잡은 뒤 자기 서브게임까지 지켜내며 5-4에서 강력한 서브 에이스를 집어넣으며 우승컵 획득을 확정 지었다.

우승 후 인터뷰에서 크비토바는 "긴장을 많이 했지만 매 순간 집중하려고 애썼다"며 "생애 최고의 경기였다"고 밝혔다.

한편 이번 우승으로 올해만 이번 대회를 합쳐 네 차례 우승을 차지한 크비토바는 하드, 실내, 클레이, 잔디 등 다양한 코트에서 각각 한 차례씩 정상에 올라 앞으로 세계 여자테니스계를 주도할 절대 강자로 올라서게 됐다.
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