Wimbledon 2011: Petra Kvitova beats Maria Sharapova to title

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Wimbledon

Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova outplayed former champion Maria Sharapova to win her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

The 21-year-old's shot-making ability proved too much for Sharapova in a 6-3 6-4 victory on Centre Court.

Kvitova is the first Czech since Jana Novotna in 1998 to win Wimbledon, and Novotna and former Czech great Martina Navratilova were in the Royal Box.

"It's hard to find some words," Kvitova told BBC Sport afterwards.

"I'm standing here with the trophy and I see some great players in the Royal Box. It's very nice that Martina Navratilova and Jana Novotna are watching me and have supported me all the time during the tournament and gave me some advice."

In a final of eight breaks of serve, it was 2004 champion Sharapova who was under the greater pressure to hold - an issue she has struggled to deal with since coming back from shoulder surgery.

Sharapova suffered a rash of double faults in her French Open semi-final defeat by Li Na last month, and the attack-minded Kvitova was quickly on to any short deliveries.

The Czech was by far the less experienced of the finalists and three-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova looked ready to take advantage of that with an early break, but Kvitova levelled immediately with some piercing returns.

It was two double faults in a row from Sharapova that shifted the balance of power decisively as it handed Kvitova a 4-2 lead, and although the Russian saved a set point with an ace it did not prevent her from losing the set.

In previous matches, Kvitova had lost concentration after some strong starts, but there was no sign of that when a breathtaking forehand winner down the line gave her a break at the start of the second set.

Sharapova, desperate to return to Grand Slam winning ways, fought back to level at 2-2 with a fine backhand lob and again at 3-3 with a fine return, but the 24-year-old fifth seed just could not get a foothold in her own service games.

She crumbled once again as Kvitova sent back a barrage of heavy returns, and when the Czech held for 5-3 she was almost there.

Sharapova did make her young opponent serve for the title but Kvitova played a nerveless game, moving to 40-0 and choosing championship point to send down her first ace of the day before sinking to the turf in triumph.

"Of course I was nervous in the final game but I hoped that I can win and I had to focus on each point, which was important," said Kvitova, before adding: "I think that was the best match I ever played."

Sharapova said: "Unfortunately there is only one winner at the end of day.

"I have had amazing support over so many years and to be back at this stage and holding the runners-up trophy - I wanted that big one and it's something I'm going to be back for and will get again."

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