SPORTS Af­ter World Cup, MLS looks Spe­cial K: 2nd Wim­ble­don to steady growth ti­tle for Pe­tra Kvi­tova

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

Even be­fore mil­lions of people packed into out­door fan par­ties, ran out to bars for long lunches and sneaked peeks of games at their of­fices dur­ing the Amer­i­cans’ World Cup run, Ma­jor League Soc­cer be­gan think­ing about how to con­vert some of those fans into sup­port­ers for its own teams.

Play­ing its 19th sea­son and pre­par­ing for an ex­pan­sion to 24 teams in its post-David Beck­ham era, MLS has grown in sup­port and in­ter­est but re­mains a feeder league — with most young star play­ers it pro­duces leav­ing for more lu­cra­tive con­tracts in Europe.

MLS Com­mis­sioner Don Gar­ber wants to change that quickly, and it only helps his cause when stars such as Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley come home to play on U.S. soil.

“We want to be thought of the way the Pre­mier League is thought of, Serie A is thought of, La Liga is thought of, the Bun­desliga is thought of,” Gar­ber said. “When people think about the best leagues in the world, ev­ery­body knows who they are, and we want to be one of those leagues.”

LON­DON (AP) — Pe­tra Kvi­tova plays so much bet­ter at the All Eng­land Club than any­where else, and now she owns two cham­pi­onships to prove it.

In one of the most dom­i­nant per­for­mances in a women’s fi­nal at Wim­ble­don, the sixth-seeded Kvi­tova of the Czech Repub­lic over­pow­ered and overwhelmed 13th-seeded Eu­ge­nie Bouchard of Canada 6-3, 6-0 in only 55 min­utes Satur­day to add to her 2011 ti­tle at the grass-court Grand Slam. “I know,” Kvi­tova said, “this is the best tour­na­ment for me.” Ab­so­lutely true. Her ca­reer record of 26-5 at Wim­ble­don trans­lates to an .839 win­ning per­cent­age, com­pared to her marks of .667 at the three other ma­jors and .681 at all other events.

In 2014, Kvi­tova lost in the first round at the hard-court Aus­tralian Open, and in the third round at the clay-court French Open. But get her on the grass court, and those speedy serves and flat fore­hands re­ally shine.

“For sure, she was on,” Bouchard said. “We know that when she’s on, she’s very tough to beat. Es­pe­cially on this sur­face.”

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