Eugenie Bouchard never had a fighting chance
Eugenie Bouchard graceful after defeat in Wimbledon final
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada stands dejected during the Ladies' Singles final match against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic on day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2014 in London, England.
Photograph by: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images, Postmedia News
LONDON — Perhaps if Canadian Genie Bouchard had been in the match Saturday, she might have put up more of her patented fight. But 2014 Wimbledon ladies' singles champion Petra Kvitova never let her past the front door.
The 24-year-old lefty from the Czech Republic is now 2-for-2 in Wimbledon finals after a comprehensive 6-3, 6-0 dismantling of the 20-year-old from Westmount, Que., who couldn't find any way to stop the powerful runaway train.
"I felt like I started well, and, you know, was in there. But I didn't feel like I was able to play my game. She really took the chances away from me and was really putting a lot of pressure on me. I didn't have that many opportunities," Bouchard said. "Sometimes your opponent just plays better than you, and that's what happened today."
From the very first game, it was clear Bouchard was going to have to get a lot of first serves in because if she didn't, Kvitova would dine out on her second delivery. Every time she missed it she found herself immediately on defence, trying to withstand the barrage of power the Czech lefty was throwing at her.
That's not Bouchard's game. While her defence is improving, it will never be the foundation of what she does on the tennis court. She needs to do what Kvitova was doing to her. And she rarely had an opportunity to do it.
Kvitova had 28 winners; Bouchard managed just eight. Kvitova won over 80 per cent of the points when she got her first serve in; Bouchard, who has a very good serve, was below 50 per cent. When that happens, you try to create those opportunities out of nothing. And then you play with more risk, which leads to more errors, which can put a dent in your confidence.
The damage Kvitova was doing to her second serve resulted in Bouchard trying to make more first serves. And since those were safer, not as dangerous, Kvitova started dining out on those as well.
The race was on to try to get the match clock over an hour, and try to avoid suffering a bagel in the second set. Bouchard couldn't manage either one. "Tennis is not a timed sport. You can always come back, no matter what. But it was hard for me to feel like I had my game going for me. It really was one of those days," Bouchard said. "She definitely put the pressure on me and took away my chances."
Despite some potential weather issues, the roof was open for the beginning of the match as Bouchard and Kvitova walked out not with their tennis bags, but with big bouquets of flowers. Bouchard, who said she didn't feel overwhelmed by the moment once she starting hitting tennis balls - and she certainly didn't appear to be - was able to appreciate it. " The applause was really loud when we walked out. That's the main thing that registered in my mind," she said. "I just felt so grateful to be able to walk out on a stage and have a chance to perform and do what I love. I hope to experience that feeling many more times."
The performance Kvitova put on is one she's quite capable of. She served better and harder than Bouchard, and lefthanded as well. Her groundstrokes have more pop to them, and at this point, she's still a little more eager to come forward and finish points at the net when the can than her opponent, who is four years younger and can only get better.
Kvitova's problem has been that she can't summon that level week in and week out. Otherwise she would be the favorite in pretty much every match she plays. But on Saturday, she had it. When asked if she had just played the match of her life, she couldn't really argue.
"Yeah, it seems like, right? I knew that I could play well on the grass, but I really played so well today. I exactly know what I have to play to beat her," Kvitova said. "I just did really everything what I could in the moment. I was very focused for every point. I knew that I have to go forward for every shot that I'm playing to push her."
The Wimbledon trophy ceremony is an awkward time for the runner-up. And it was especially so this time, when it was decided to close the retractable roof for the ceremony as sprinkles turned into rain. The players left the court and returned and, as tradition dictates, Bouchard had to do a victory lap of the court with her runner-up plate at the same time Kvitova was showing off the massive Venus Rosewater Dish.
There was a smile through much of it. But compared to the true-blue, megawatt Genie Bouchard full-on smile, it was a 25-watt light bulb.
While she was waiting, she had to sit in the engraver's room just off Centre Court. Bouchard sat there once before, after she won the junior girls' title in 2012 and waited to go to the Royal Box to receive her trophy from the Duke of Kent. "Yeah, it was a little odd. I sat down. I put my jacket on. Just reflected. I was watching them work, wishing one day, dreaming that he'll write my name somewhere," Bouchard said. "I definitely got outplayed, and I felt that way after the match. But I'm still holding my head up. I feel like I've come a long way and I'm proud of what I've achieved not only this week but this year as well."
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