Kvitova Defeats Sharapova In Wimbledon Final
21-year-old Chezch wins her first major tournament
21-year-old Petra Kvitova defeated fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4 to win the Wimbledon women's final. (Getty Images)
The 21-year-old Czech had gone into the final as the underdog against three-time grand slam champion Sharapova, but belied that status with a high-class display on Centre Court.
She is the third player representing the Czech Republic, after Martina Navratilova and Jana Novotna, to take a Wimbledon singles crown.
Both were in the Royal Box to witness her triumph and Kvitova paid them both a compliment as she savored her victory.
"It's hard to find some words, to see the great players in the Royal Box," said Kvitova, the first left-hander since Navratilova in 1990 to win the title.
"It's very nice when they're watching me all the time and supporting me, it's great."
Russia's Sharapova was bidding to repeat her success as 17-year-old in 2004, but despite breaking Kvitova in her very first service game was largely second-best against an opponent hitting with pace and accuracy.
Eighth seed Kvitova, beaten in the semifinals by eventual winner Serena Williams last year, responded with two breaks of Sharapova's service to take the first set in 40 minutes.
She immediately broke Sharapova at the start of the second set and appeared to be in control, but the fifth seed retrieved it to level at two games all.
Sharapova looked to gain momentum but she surrendered her service again only to show great resilience to break back again.
But it was her last glimpse of glory as Kvitova broke again for 4-3 to close on her maiden grand slam title.
Serving for the championship at 5-4, Kvitova carved out three match points and clinched it with an ace, sinking to the turf in triumph.
But in contrast, it was a bitter disappointment for Sharapova, who has battled back to the top of the game after serious shoulder surgery.
"It's great to be back at this stage and holding the runner-up plate -- but I wanted the big one today," said Sharapova.
"But it's something I want to be back for and holding again one day."
Defending champion Rafael Nadal and new world No.1 Novak Djokovic contest the men's singles final Sunday.