Kvitova dominated the final of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, 6-3, 6-4, and has now convincingly won all three meetings between these two Top 10 players in the world.
Kvitova broke immediately in both sets and powered to victory behind strong serves and crushing forehands in a battle of two stars of the game with very similar intent - to go through their opponent.
"She's beaten me in two finals this year, so I will have to figure out what to do to beat her now," Bouchard said post-match.
The problem for the Canadian is that, at the moment, Kvitova presents a nightmare of a match-up because her Czech opponent is simply better at executing the identical game plan she wants to employ.
Bouchard has not figured out how to diffuse Kvitova's lefty patterns or come up with a "Plan B" that throws a monkey wrench into Kvitova's aggressive game style.
The harder Bouchard hits it, the harder it comes back. Bouchard continues to hit the ball where she wants to hit it rather than where Kvitova doesn't want it.
Bouchard's first, and most obvious problem, is returning Kvitova's lefty, can-opener serve in the ad court.
Bouchard typically stood with her left foot on or inside the singles sideline in the Wuhan final, which is normal against a right-handed opponent, but way out of position against a lefty with a nasty slider. Bouchard was well positioned to cover both forehand and backhand returns, but Kvitova attempted 26 first serves very wide to the backhand in the ad court and only three down the middle to the forehand.
Kvitova made 21 of 26 out wide, and won 15 of those points, typically pulling Bouchard well wide of the doubles sideline to return serve.
Kvitova faced six of her eight break points in the ad court, and directed every serve out wide to the backhand, winning five of them. Kvitova only made two first serves to Bouchard's forehand in the ad court for the match and Bouchard won both of them.
But with almost all the traffic directed out wide to the backhand, Bouchard was essentially trying to cover the entire service box when she desperately needed to stand wider to just shut down Kvitova's favorite wide pattern.
Without the lack of a clear game plan, Bouchard struggled all over the court to lock onto a simple strategy that could accumulate enough points for victory.
Overall, Bouchard hit 87% (34/39) of her returns as a backhand, but she was constantly reaching for them instead of already been there waiting for them. Bouchard hit five forehand returns for the match and won four of them, but that's not enough points to cause a concern. The problem was that Kvitova directed 34 first serves to Bouchard's backhand and the Canadian could only win 10 of those points.
Once rallies developed, Bouchard was still all at sea.
SAP Analytics showed Bouchard directed 58% of her groundstrokes through the ad court to Kvitova's forehand, which crushed 13 winners and forced many errors from the Canadian. Kvitova hit 71% of her total groundstrokes as a forehand and only made seven forehand unforced errors for the match. Bouchard was constantly feeding the shot that was hurting her the most.
Kvitova averaged 76mph with her huge, flat forehand, giving her a huge advantage over Bouchard's forehand, which only averaged 62mph. With Bouchard hitting more backhands than forehands (52% to 48%) for the match, then it quickly becomes clear why Bouchard struggles so much against Kvitova. She is playing her like she is right-handed.
These dynamics greatly affected Bouchard's court position and made it very difficult for her to make Kvitova uncomfortable from the trenches.
Bouchard played 45% inside the baseline in her semifinal victory over Caroline Wozniacki but could only manage 35% against Kvitova in the final. Kvitova played 38% inside the baseline in her semifinal against Elina Svitolina and was even more aggressive at 40% in the final against Bouchard.
With Kvitova dining on forehands, she owned the battle of court position and constantly had Bouchard reacting to her game plan. It's easy to see who was pushing who around.
Kvitova was always looking to hit a forehand as her first shot after her serve as well, and won 66% (20/30) with this tactic, which was far more efficient than the 40% (6/15) she won starting with a backhand as her first shot after the serve.
Crafty lefty patterns are not always obvious to right-handed players, but with three convincing losses, Bouchard absolutely requires adjustments to her game plan if she is to triumph against Kvitova.
Craig O'Shannessy (@BrainGameTennis) is the leading analyst for wtatennis.com throughout the 2014 season, utilizing SAP Data & Insights to uncover the patterns and percentages that dominate the game. Visit Craig's website at www.braingametennis.com for more expert strategy analysis.