|Russian favourite Sharapova (L) praised new champion Kvitova (R) after being outplayed in the final [GALLO/GETTY]
Petra Kvitova won her first Grand Slam title, beating Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final before dropping to her knees in disbelief.
Kvitova appeared overawed by her victory and cut a surprisingly calm and stunned figure as she raised the Wimbledon trophy in front of the Centre Court crowd on Saturday.
Kvitova was playing in her first major final, but it was three-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova that showed her nerves.
The 2004 Wimbledon champion double-faulted six times, including twice to get broken to 4-2 in the first set.
"Unfortunately in tennis there's only one winner at the end of the day and that's what makes this tournament so special,'' Sharapova said before turning her attention to Kvitova.
"So big congratulations on a wonderful victory, you played a wonderful tournament."
The 21-year-old Kvitova is the first left-handed woman to win the Wimbledon title since Martina Navratilova in 1990.
Using a fast-paced and well-placed forehand, Kvitova did little wrong on Centre Court as Czech greats Navratilova and Jana Novotna sat in the Royal Box with a host of other former Wimbledon champions.
"It's hard to find some words if I'm standing here with the trophy and see the great players in the Royal Box," Kvitova said.
"It's hard to find some words if I'm standing here with the trophy and see the great players in the Royal Box"
An almost speechless Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova
"Well, I'm so happy that I won."
Kvitova kept Sharapova on the run with 18 winners, and never seemed to lose confidence despite being broken three times.
"Of course I was nervous," Kvitova said.
"I thought I can win Wimbledon. But I had to focus on each point."
In her semi-final against Victoria Azarenka, Kvitova played a convincing first set but allowed the Belarussian back to take the second so everyone around Centre Court waited with bated breath to see how she dealt with the pressure of leading the final.
They did not have to wait long as she broke Sharapova in the opening game after the Russian's fifth double fault gave her a break point that she took with a crashing forehand down the line.
A break apiece had Kvitova on the brink when serving at 3-2 but she twice missed simple shots with the court gaping to allow Sharapova back into the match.
However, it proved a false dawn for the 2004 champion, who was appearing in her first final since the 2008 Australian Open after missing long periods with shoulder problems.
Kvitova, showing remarkable control of her nerves, broke back immediately and finished the match off in style by holding serve to love and signing the whole thing off with her first ace of the final.
From the stunned look on her face it might take Kvitova quite a while to get over such an achievement, although her tennis warranted every moment of it.