LONDON -- The Wimbledon women's final is set -- the first Grand Slam title match between two players born in the 1990s. Petra Kvitova, 24, the 2011 champion, and Eugenie Bouchard, 20, will battle on Saturday. Here's a look at how they got there on Day 10:
Petra Kvitova is back where she belongs: When KvitovaÂ marched to the title three years ago, she was filled with promise. Powered by a monstrous left-handed serve and flat, penetrating groundstrokes, the Czech was touted to become a consistently dominant force. Despite being a top-10 constant, however, she's underachieved. It's taken Kvitova time to adjust to the expectations and pressure, as before this week she had made only two major semifinals since her breakthrough.
She's been plenty comfortable at the All England Club this year, taking advantage of a soft draw to reach her first Slam final in three years. On Thursday, she defeated her highest-seeded opponent so far, No. 23 Lucie Safarova, 7-6 (6), 6-1, improving to 5-0 against her countrywoman in 2014.
"These three years [since her Wimbledon title] were really up and down," Kvitova said. "I knew that a lot of people are expecting something more than I did probably.Â But on the other side, I was still in the top 10 and I did everything I could. I was practicing very hard. But it's never easy."
Eugenie Bouchard goes a step farther:
The Canadian's naked ambition has been on display all year. Bouchard hasn't paused to revel in the success of being the only WTA player to make three consecutive Slam semifinals this year, even though she's appeared in only six majors. Instead, she's made clear that she wants more. That drive was on display Thursday, when she overcame a late wobble to beat No. 3 Simona Halep 7-6, (5), 6-2. Bouchard's first victory over a top-five player means she will be ranked seventh (if she loses the final) or sixth (if she wins it) next week, with either being the highest-ever position for a Canadian.
It was 10 years ago that a blonde basher stood on Centre Court in her first major final and upended a former champion. Bouchard may not love the comparisons to Maria Sharapova, but she won't mind a bit if a similar scenario unfolds on Saturday.
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Question: You're now set to play in the biggest match on the biggest court in the biggest tournament. The other day you were talking your favorite show is the Big Bang Theory. Do you think this is a kind of a big bang?
Eugenie Bouchard: Someone made that really lame joke a few days ago. I called him out on it. So I'm going to have to say that was really lame again.
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