Bouchard loses to Kvitova at Wimbledon
By The Canadian Press
LONDON - Eugenie Bouchard's historic run at Wimbledon is over, but she thinks her best performance is yet to come.
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic beat Bouchard 6-3, 6-0 on Saturday in the women's final to claim her second Wimbledon title, ending an impressive run by the 20-year-old Canadian at the All England Club.
No Canadian had ever reached a Grand Slam singles final in the Open era before Bouchard.
"It was a big moment walking out on to centre court for a final. I have that experience now, I know what it feels like," said Bouchard. "I hope I can walk out to many more finals. That's the goal.
"I'm going to go back, work on my game, try to get better. You always need to get better."
Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., is currently ranked 13th in the world, seven positions below Kvitova. She will rise to seventh when the WTA standings are updated after Wimbledon. She beat Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 in the quarter-final before topping Romania's Simona Halep 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the semis.
The success at Wimbledon comes after a breakthrough season last year. Bouchard reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open earlier this season.
"I think it's a tough road to try and become as good as I want to be, no matter what," said Bouchard. "I'm not going to win every single time. I think this was a good experience for me — my first Slam final — so I'm going to learn a lot from this match and hopefully use it to get much better."
Bouchard was overwhelmed by Kvitova, who added a second to her first from 2011. Watching from the Royal Box was Britain's Princess Eugenie, the royal for whom the Canadian was named.
"Tough loss today at Wimbledon, but you're an inspiration @eugeniebouchard & Canada couldn't be more proud of you," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a tweet.
Kvitova, her right thigh heavily wrapped as it was through the two-week tournament, quickly took charge of the match. She handcuffed Bouchard's attacking game with a strong offence of her own, putting the Canadian under pressure on every service game with break point.
"I have to give full credit to my opponent, she played unbelievable," said Bouchard. "I know I won't win every match but I want to be as good as I can be. This was a good experience and something I will learn from. I can hopefully use it to get better."
Bouchard was broken in the third and seventh games to fall to a 5-2 deficit. She showed her own form by breaking back for 3-5 after Kvitova netted after chasing Bouchard's cross-court shot.
Despite Bouchard's resistance, Kvitova wrapped up the first set in less than 30 minutes on a third set point.
Kvitova picked up where she left off to start the second set with a break of Bouchard for 2-0. With the experienced Czech keeping up a lethally rapid pace, there was little time for Bouchard to react.
Bouchard missed on a return at her feet to trail 4-0 as Kvitova took a stranglehold on the match. The Czech dished out a love game for 5-0 and finished off the title performance on her first match point with a deeply angled backhand cross-court winner after 55 minutes on court.
It has been a strong tournament for other Canadians as well.
Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., made it to the men's singles semifinal before losing to seven-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland in straight sets. The last Canadian to reach a men's final four at a major was Robert Powell at Wimbledon in 1908, according to Tennis Canada.
Montreal native Greg Rusedski reached the U.S. Open final in 1997 but he was representing Great Britain at that time.
Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil and American Jack Sock will play Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States in the men's doubles final Saturday and defending mixed doubles champions Daniel Nestor of Toronto and French partner Kristina Mladenovic will play a semifinal match against Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan.
Bouchard has done well at the All England Club in the past. She won the Wimbledon girls' title in 2012, becoming the first Canadian to win a junior Grand Slam in singles.
"I love coming back to Wimbledon, so thank you, guys," said Bouchard at centre court immediately after the match to a loud round of applause from the fans in attendance Saturday.
Last year at Wimbledon, Bouchard won her second-round match against former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in straight sets before she was eliminated in the third round by Carla Suarez Navarro.
Kvitova defeated Bouchard in straight sets in their lone previous meeting last year at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Bouchard said she will return to Montreal to decompress after the Wimledon final.
"I'll take some time off — much deserved, I've been playing a lot of tennis at a high level recently," said Bouchard. "I'll take time for the mind and body and then hit the practice court again and get excited for the second half of the season."