LONDON - It was a heck of a run but Eugenie Bouchard's quest for her first Grand Slam title fell short on Saturday at Wimbledon as the Canadian lost 6-3, 6-0 to Petra Kvitova. The win gives the Czech her second championship at the All-England Club in four years.
As for Bouchard, she fought valiantly in the opening set only to let Kvitova break away, dominating the second and final set to claim the Wimbledon crown once again.
It may not have been the performance she was hoping for on Saturday but nonetheless, Eugenie Bouchard ought to feel proud of what she has accomplished not only at this tournament but in 2014 overall.
Bouchard certainly could have played a lot better but her opponent certainly deserves her fair share of credit.
"First of all, I'd like to congratulate Petra. She played fantastic these two weeks," said Bouchard at centre court after the match. "It was really tough for me today, but I'm proud of how I've played this whole tournament."
As disappointing as Saturday's end result was for the native of Westmount, Quebec, this came just days after she made history, becoming the first Canadian (man or woman) to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open era, which dates back to 1968.
A win would have been extraordinary not only for Bouchard personally but for Canadian tennis as a whole, but this was, in all fairness, just her first Grand Slam final - and it was against a more seasoned Kvitova who let her experience do the talking en route to the championship.
"I feel like it's a step in the right direction," said Bouchard. "I don't know if I deserve all your love today, but I really appreciate it."
Bouchard even received praise from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper via Twitter:
"Tough loss today at Wimbledon, but you're an inspiration (at)eugeniebouchard & Canada couldn't be more proud of you,"
At Wimbledon, Bouchard defeated, most notably, No. 3 Simona Halep - in straight sets, mind you - in her historic semi-final matchup to get to Saturday's final. That coupled with semi-final runs both at this year's Australian Open and French Open only further solidify that Bouchard's vast success so far this calendar year is no fluke. In fact, most will bet - and so will I - that Genie's loss in Wimbledon's final will only make her stronger for the upcoming Rogers Cup in Montreal next month and at the final Grand Slam of the Year, the US Open, at the end of August.
Even prior to Saturday's final, Bouchard received a great deal of confidence from former Canadian tennis star Carling Bassett-Seguso who said this of the 20-year-old:
"I'm telling you she's going to number one," Bassett-Seguso told The Canadian Press. "I watched her play. I don't watch too much women's tennis to be honest with you. I watched that match and I was just blown away.
"She just takes the ball so aggressively. Her composure, I can't even believe she's 20. Her shot selection, her timing is impeccable. She really takes the ball early. If you look at her statistics, she hits more winners than errors."
The sky is the limit for Eugenie Bouchard and while she is second-best in London this weekend, she is much more than that on this side of the pond - and for that, she should be as proud of herself as all of Canada is of her.