Friday, June 7, 2013


Bagels are for more than breakfast, you want to enjoy them in tennis, too! Of course, not when you are on the receiving end.  We have all been there, myself just yesterday, and even Maria Sharapova in her French Open 2013 quarter-final tennis match against Jankovic.  Of course, Maria fared much better than I did! She won her match at 0-6, 6-4, 6-3. AND, is now on her way to the finals, after beating Vika Azarenka in the semi's, converting a first set win in her own favor at 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. How incredible is that??

So, what goes on when you have nothing but a 0 in the first set? A 'bagel' as the vernacular term is in tennis.  I discovered with myself, that my opponent was not playing the singles game that I wanted, being stubborn set in, I kept trying to turn the points and games my way, some worked, most did not, and presto!  A 0 for the first set. However, I was aware of the obvious play tactic of my opponent, and decided I had to fight fire with fire, to even get a game. "Give her a dose of her own medicine," as the saying goes.

How did the points go? What did my opponent do with her tennis game that I did not do in the first set? She got to the service line immediately. Either after her serve, or when receiving.  She just got there in the middle of the court and stayed there.  Catching high balls, low balls, leaning in for passing shots, running backwards in tiny steps for lobs (that most players cannot get), and slamming away at angles I could run to for a few shots but then she got me. My opponent was a very nice player.

The points and games racked up in her favor ever so quickly, I knew I had to get to net by the middle of the first set, but still felt compelled to play the game and match I won the day before.  Mistake. Each match and opponent is different.  Respect that. And I do, but I thought my game would prevail and I thought incorrectly. Stubborn!

So, next set I fought fire with fire, used my approach shot and came as fast as I could to the service line, I need work on this as I made some errors, but I did save face and get a few games.  Thank goodness!

I will work on this tactic much more, and use it in my own games.  I will look to see how an opponent will approach to such boldness. Will she stay at the baseline, or fight fire with fire?

I think more than anything it is the stubborn factor that happens in a bagel first set.  Maria Sharapova, however, was able to convert her game around totally and win the second set, and the third, to place her in the Women's semi-finals and finals for the French Open 2013. She saw something in Jankovic's game, removed the stubborn factor from her own, and congratulations, Maria, you turned a bagel into a complete breakfast of champions!

photo courtesy of Vincent Kessler/REUTERS

Maria, discussing the first set 0-6~
"I wanted to put that chapter behind me," the second-seeded Sharapova said. "No matter how many errors I made or how disappointed I was with the way I started the match, I knew that I still could try to create chances out there; obviously taking them is another question. But I knew that I was capable of doing much better."

Click here for Maria's interview and highlights of her quarter-final match.

And Djokovic, you almost had a bagel in the third set of your match against Nadal in the Men's semi-finals French Open 2013. The commentators call this an 'intermission' of sorts.  Such is true in the middle of a match. Risky however, as the fourth set must be won to get to a fifth. But then Djokovic did get a game in the third set, no bagels on the board for you!

Tennis is such a wonderful sport, the more you play the more you learn, about the game, about yourself and those around you. It is an honor to play with an advanced player, you will learn, and with practice and observation and an open mind (no bagels intended!) we can all become better players.


Women's Final on Saturday will be between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.

Men's Final is Sunday between Rafael Nadal and  David Ferrer.

Click here for television schedule!

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