Russia’s Maria Sharapova missed out on a second Wimbledon title after going down to Petra Kvitova in straight sets in Saturday’s final.
Despite being the hot favorite before the match, Sharapova made another sluggish start against her Czech opponent.
But unlike Thursday’s semi, where she recovered to reel off a blistering nine-game salvo against Sabine Lisicki, the sixth seed was unable to impose herself in the face of some inspired tennis from Kvitova.
And in the final game a flawless show of strength from the Czech’s left-handed serve was enough to secure a 6-3 6-4 win crowned with a blistering ace on match point.The opening two games set the tone for the match - both players seeing their serves easily broken - and Sharapova once again struggled to find the mark.
By the closing stages the statistics for her service game were dire: 57 per cent of first serve points won, and a miserly 15 per cent on her second serve.
The gremlins which had beset her in the semi against Lisicki were back once again, and unlike the German, Kvitova was better able to take advantage.
While the young Czech has a reputation for losing concentration at key moments - and a sequence of broken service games in the middle of the second set showed that it is no unearned - she came up with the big points when required.
Leading 4-3, but having seen the four previous games go against serve, Kvitova pulled off a vital hold to put her one game away from a maiden Grand Slam success.
Not even seeing Sharapova hold to love in a desperate effort to stay in the match could distract her at that stage as she completed a deserved win.