(Recasts with details)
By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) - Her nearest and dearest thought she was “too nice to play tennis” but Petra Kvitova proved that when she walks out on court, she is “not that nice” as she handed Eugenie Bouchard a right royal thumping in the Wimbledon final.
Kvitova was so brutal and so lethal on Saturday that it will be a long time before Bouchard, tipped as a Wimbledon-queen-in-waiting, forgets the 6-3 6-0 execution she suffered at the hands of the Czech sixth seed.
It was not the final that 15,000 fans, including members of the British royal family, had flocked to see.
Kvitova did not care.
After just 55 mind-blowing minutes, she was flat on her back in celebration while spectators such as nine-times champion Martina Navratilova stood up to hail a majestic Centre Court performance.
“After three years to be back here with the trophy is absolutely amazing. It’s amazing time for me,” a teary-eyed Kvitova told the crowd with a quivering voice after hoisting the Rosewater Dish for the second time in four years.
“It will be good ... to have a second trophy at home. I still have a lot of work to do to match how many Martina has. So I will work very hard for that.”
It was an astonishing performance for a woman whose career has gone south since her breakthrough win here three years ago.
Kvitova hit rip-roaring winners left, right and centre to win the most one-sided final since Steffi Graf also dropped only three games against Monica Seles in 1992.
“When I was younger, everyone said I was too nice to play tennis but when I stand there on court, I ‘m not that nice,” Kvitova said with a disarming smile.
Much had been made of Bouchard’s raw power and determination to triumph in what she calls the “Temple of Tennis” but the 20-year-old was unable to cope with sixth seed Kvitova’s more varied attacking style.
Bouchard was watched from the Royal Box by her namesake Princess Eugenie, grand-daughter of Queen Elizabeth but the occasion of playing in her first major final appeared to overwhelm the 13th seed.
She dropped serve in the third game after Kvitova hit a crosscourt winner to end an entertaining rally that had sent both players scampering around the court.
The Czech’s laser-like shots were again on target when she broke again in the seventh game, leaving Bouchard time and again stranded on the wrong side of the court with the sheer force of her winners.
Kvitova’s only blip during the demolition job was when she attempted to serve out the set at 5-2. She dropped her serve but then broke her rival in the next game with a thumping return.
The crowd tried to lift Bouchard’s sagging spirits with cries of “Come on Genie” but left-hander Kvitova simply went into overdrive in the second, winning it in 22 blistering minutes, and ended her victim’s ordeal with a sizzling backhand crosscourt winner.
“It was just amazing. You always dream as a player to play your best tennis on the biggest stage and that was a thing of beauty,” summed up 1999 Wimbledon champion Lindsay Davenport.
”You can’t even blame Bouchard because she didn’t play badly but she just didn’t get the chance to play because Kvitova didn’t allow her to. I don’t think anyone would have been able to play her today.
“Bouchard tried everything but Kvitova didn’t miss anything.”
As if the on-court humiliation was not painful enough, Bouchard was then left to face exactly what she had missed out on.
With the players briefly taken off Centre Court while the roof was closed for the presentation ceremony, she found herself in the one place she would rather not be.
“It was a little odd. I sat down. I put my jacket on. Just reflected. I was in the engraver’s room, so I was watching them work, wishing one day, dreaming that he’ll write my name somewhere,” Bouchard said after her hopes of becoming the first Canadian to win a grand slam title were pounded into the Wimbledon turf.
It was the quickest final since Navratilova took 54 minutes to wallop American Andrea Jaeger 6-0 6-3 in 1983. ($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds) (Editing by Pritha Sarkar; editing by Clare Lovell)