Kvitova breaks through to win Wimbledon title

WIMBLEDON - Unknown no more, Petra Kvitova is a Wimbledon champion.

The 21-year-old Czech, who has worked her way up the rankings from 34th at the end of last season to No. 7 on Monday, beat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4 in the women's final on Saturday.

"I don't know about this still. It's still (an) unbelievable feeling," said Kvitova, who was playing in her first Grand Slam final.

Kvitova is the first left-handed woman to win the Wimbledon title since Martina Navratilova in 1990.

And it was the nine-time champion that was giving her two thumbs up from her seat in the Royal Box as she was accepting well-wishes from anyone that could get her attention.

"She played brave tennis and she deserved to win. She was by far the better player," said Navratilova, who was born and raised in Czechoslovakia.

Kvitova is only the third Czech woman to win the title at the All England Club, following Navratilova and Jana Novotna.

Both were in the Royal Box, along with a host of other former champions. And both congratulated her after the match.

Kvitova was playing in her first major final, but it was 2004 Wimbledon champion Sharapova that showed nerves. The 24-year-old Russian double-faulted six times, including twice to get broken to 4-2 in the first set.

Then, when the ball was in play, Kvitova used a fast-paced and well-placed forehand to keep Sharapova on the run, finishing the match with 19 winners. - Sapa-AP

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