WIMBLEDON, England — Maria Sharapova's serve let her down again, and this time there wasn't much she could do about it.
The three-time Grand Slam champion had experience on her side Saturday in the Wimbledon final. Petra Kvitova was just plain better, beating the fifth-seeded Russian 6-3, 6-4.
"She was hitting really powerful and hitting winners from all over the court. She made a defensive shot into an offensive one," Sharapova said. "And, yeah, just kind of laid on a lot of those shots. I think she was just more aggressive than I was, hit deeper and harder, and got the advantage in the points."
Instead of using her serve to set up easy winners, Sharapova seemed more concerned with just landing them. And she was probably right to think that.
Sharapova finished with six double-faults, including three in a row over two games at one point in the first set.
That, however, was fewer than the 13 she misfired in her semifinal victory over German wild card Sabine Lisicki.
"I think there were a lot of things that I could have done better besides the serve," Sharapova said. "It's also about the serve and the first ball, the return and the first ball, and she was just doing that a lot better than I was."
Sharapova did give herself a chance in the second set, however. After going down an early break, she broke to get to 2-2.
Sasha Vujacic, the New Jersey Nets guard and Sharapova's fiance, stood in the players' box and screamed, pumping his fists while his gray T-shirt showed signs of sweat. But despite another break to 3-3, Vujacic's vocal support didn't work.
"She wasn't able to come back. It happens," Vujacic said. "When you lose, people look for alibis. ... We lost today, but we'll move forward. She knows what she has to do moving forward."
Sharapova won her three Grand Slam titles, including Wimbledon in 2004, before shoulder surgery in October 2008. This was her first major final since then.
"I knew that she had experiences. She won here," said Kvitova, who lost in the Wimbledon semifinals last year. "But I had it from the last year also, so I knew a little bit how I feeling on the court and I (did) a great job here today."
Sharapova said she will take a couple of days off after heading home for the first time in weeks, but her long-term plans are still centered on tennis.
And just reaching the final at the All England Club seven years after winning it when she was 17 is a move in the right direction.
"It's a big step because my game is improving, and it's a big step because it gives me a tremendous amount of confidence going forward," Sharapova said. "We still have many tournaments in this year and the next and the following. You know, I just want to be a better player and I want to keep working."