LONDON, England - It had all the makings of a classic - a former champion playing at the top of her game again, a WTA Rising Star storming through to her first Grand Slam final without losing a set - and at the end of the day it was experience that triumphed over youth, as Petra Kvitova beat Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish at Wimbledon a second time.
Kvitova is always a huge threat at Wimbledon - she has been to the quarterfinals or better here the last five years, including winning her first Grand Slam title here in 2011. But she was nearly out in Week 1 this year, just two points from losing to Venus Williams before scraping through, 5-7, 7-6(2), 7-5.
But scraping through that seemed to give her a new breath of life - she stormed through her next three rounds without losing a set, and not before long, she was a win away from recapturing her crown.
Meanwhile on the other half of the draw, Bouchard - one of the fastest-rising stars on the WTA, and with some of the highest ambitions of all the WTA Rising Stars - was powering past all comers. She didn't drop a set all tournament, including in her career-best wins over No.9 seed Angelique Kerber and No.3 seed Simona Halep in the quarters and semis, and many thought she could go all the way.
But on the day it was an absolutely dialed-in Kvitova that showed up. Bouchard played well - she had twice the winners to unforced errors, 8 to 4 - but Kvitova was crushing it, 28 winners to 12 unforced errors, and after 55 minutes the No.6-seeded Czech had the straight set win over the No.13-seeded Canadian, belting one last crosscourt backhand winner just outside of her opponent's reach.
From a numbers standpoint, Kvitova was strong on the serve and return alike - she had a 68% first serve percentage and won 82% of those points, and she won 58% of her return points as well. That was a formula for success against a player who'd been so good on the first strike through six rounds.
Bouchard may not have won her first Grand Slam title, but she still leaves SW19 with some amazing memories - not only did she become the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam final, male or female and all-time, but she will now rise from No.13 to No.7 on the WTA Rankings, making her the highest-ranked player in WTA history, passing Carling Bassett-Seguso, who went as high as No.8.
The Canadian was the first to be interviewed by WTA legend Sue Barker at the trophy ceremony.
"First of all I'd like to congratulate Petra," she said. "She played fantastic these two weeks and it was really tough for me today, but I'm proud of how I've played this whole tournament.
"I love coming back to Wimbledon, so thank you guys."
Kvitova, a former No.2 who will rise from No.6 to No.4, followed Bouchard to the microphone.
"I had great tactics from my coach before the match - he always knows what I have to play," she said. "But Eugenie had such a great tournament these two weeks, and I'm sure she'll be here to stay."
The Czech was asked what it felt like to hold the Venus Rosewater Dish again.
"I can't say that it's more special than when I won my first Wimbledon title, but after three years, to stand here with the trophy again is so amazing," she said, fighting back tears.
"It's my second title, so I hope now it's going to be a little easier for me."