- Ravi Ubha, Tennis
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WIMBLEDON, England -- The return of the Williams sisters provided some much-needed oomph to the field at Wimbledon, especially in Kim Clijsters' absence. In the end, they, and 126 others, were usurped by Petra Kvitova, a quiet lefty from the Czech Republic with a massive game.
Here are five things we learned about the women at Wimbledon, starting off with the 2011 champion.
Kvitova is here to stay
Kvitova being compared to Martina Navratilova is inevitable. They hail from the same country, are lefties with potent serves and have styles conducive to grass.
Will Kvitova go on to win 18 Grand Slam singles titles? No.
Will she be a one-Slam wonder (which is what Ana Ivanovic is looking like)? No. More is to come.
Kvitova is more than simply a power player. She can change up the pace with a nice slice and isn't averse to moving forward. She also moves well for someone 6-foot, better than her victim in Saturday's final, Maria Sharapova.
It was a good news-bad news tournament for Sharapova. Advancing to the final was uplifting. However, facing her first top-10 player of the tournament, she was no match for Kvitova, and that's a worry. At the French Open, it happened, too, against Li Na.
Both times the double faults returned.
Sharapova works extremely hard, though with that serve, her future isn't as promising.
Serena isn't a machine
What a story it would have been had Serena Williams sauntered into Wimbledon after missing most of the past year and won the whole thing.
Sure many would have questioned the depth in the women's game, but talk about a remarkable achievement. When Williams reached the second week, a few of the naysayers were justifiably starting to believe.
Williams ended up losing to an inspired Marion Bartoli in the fourth round, yet as it turned out, it was still a remarkable accomplishment. A life-threatening condition, multiple foot surgeries and falling off her bike in, by all accounts, a nasty spill, were all too much to overcome.
Even Serena needs a bit more prep.
And she'll get it before the U.S. Open.
Venus' time is almost up
Big sis Venus Williams had her own health issues, hampered by abdominal and hip injuries this campaign. Like Serena, she made her comeback prior to Wimbledon after missing about five months.
More matches leading into the tournament surely would have boosted her chances of claiming a sixth title. However, even if fully fit and battle-hardened, there was no guarantee of that happening.
Look at last year. Entering Wimbledon, Venus went 29-5 in her previous 34 matches and then didn't lose a set through four rounds, only to be ousted by nemesis Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarterfinals.
Forget about wondering if Venus will ever snap her 10-year non-grass drought at majors; will she ever win any major again?
At 31 years old and counting, the odds are stacked against her.
Woz is Woz
Remember when Caroline Wozniacki reached the U.S. Open final in 2009? Her winners to unforced errors ratio was about even.
At Wimbledon, where, yes, winners are easier to come by, the world No. 1 -- on paper -- nonetheless made progress heading into the fourth round. Wozniacki produced a combined 39 winners and 10 unforced errors, relying a little less on her splendid defense.
In the round of 16, the figures appeared to be more impressive -- 33 and 16, respectively, coupled with 10 aces. Wow.
However, when you consider that diminutive opponent Dominika Cibulkova delivered 42 winners in the final two sets alone, it tells you why Wozniacki suffered another early exit at a major.
Wozniacki knows grass is her least productive surface. If that's the case, why compete in a hard-court event at home between the French Open and Wimbledon instead of getting more practice on grass? She was in a tough spot, but tough decisions must be made.
There is a younger generation
The elders in women's tennis were riding high.
Last month at the French Open, for instance, Li and Francesca Schiavone took part in the oldest women's Grand Slam final in 13 years. In Melbourne, Li and Clijsters weren't much younger.
Youth was served at Wimbledon.
Of the four semifinalists, three were 21, with Sharapova the most senior at 24. Further, of the eight quarterfinalists, six were 23 or younger.
But it was Kvitova who truly emerged.
London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter.
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