Wimbledon, United Kingdom
Eighth ranked Czech Petra Kvitova, who has far less experience at 21 than Maria Sharapova, showed nerves of steel coupled with her wide array of shots in outplaying the three-time Grand Slam winner Saturday to capture the Wimbledon ladies title.
Kvitova, who vanquished fourth seeded Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in three sets in the semis en route to her first Grand Slam finale, relied on her blistering and potent forehand in crushing the fifth-seeded world No. 6 Russian, 6-3, 6-4.
The Czech slugger overwhelmed the former No. 1 Sharapova with 18 winners, but maintained her poise despite being broken three times, as she dashed the Russian star's bid to reclaim the Wimbledon crown.
Sharapova, who stunned American great Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon finale as a 17-year-old, was attempting to continue the revival of her career that has been marred by injuries and struggles in maintaining her form in recent years.
Though she labored with her serve against German wild card Sabine Lisicki in the semis, where she made numerous double faults, the 24-year-old Sharapova entered her 36th career WTA-level final without losing a set.
With the win, Kvitova, who was playing in her seventh career final (5-2), became the first left-handed woman to rule the All England Club since 1990 when her fellow Czech native and tennis great Martina Navratilova won the title.
Kvitova entered Saturday's game having already titled three times on the WTA this year.
Meanwhile, the tandem of German Sabine Lisicki and Aussie Samantha Stosur finished off the partnership of Marina Erakovic of New Zealand and Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-3, 4-6, 8-6 Saturday to advance to the women's doubles final at Wimbledon.
The semifinal match between the two non-seeded doubles team was continued from Friday because of darkness.
The Lisicki-Stosur duo will square off against the second-seeded team of Czech Kveta Peschke and Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik, who first secured a berth in Sunday's doubles final.
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