Characters In Order of AppearanceEdit
- Natsu Takasaki
- Megumi Nakajou
- Yusaku Miura
- Eiichiro Maruo
- Ryuhei Aoi
- Yukichi Fukazawa
- Yu Nabae
- Hiroshi Araya
- Takayuki Okada (flashback)
- Takuma Egawa
- Sakuya Takagi
- Yoshiaki Ide (flashback)
- Soji Ike (flashback)
- Sanae Maruo
Natsu is also qualified for the semifinals after she managed to beat her opponent one-sidely. Before the match against Nabae, Eiichiro seems to be calmer and excited than usual, and during the match, he seems to be more aggressive than usual. Turns out, he seems to be closer to the zone.
Eiichiro goes to Natsu's court to check her current situation in the tournament. Coach Miura comments that Natsu's condition is at her best, thus the match is totally at her favor even though she used to have difficulty on handling her opponent. While Coach Aoi is seemingly giving a joke that Natsu's condition is due to the "power of love", he points out how Natsu's condition improves after she declares her relationship upgrade with Eiichiro and how she turns Eiichiro's existence as her strength. Eiichiro is in disbelief on that since before, Coach Mike told them that romance mode and combat mode are different, but he also remembers Coach Mike's comment regarding Natsu's strong mental fortitude. He reassures himself on how he and Natsu have giving each other the strength and how he wants to live a tennis life with the person he likes. Natsu wins her match against Nakajou. After the match, Natsu greets Eiichiro enthusiastically and congratulates both of them to qualify for the semifinals. After Natsu leaves to go to the main office, the spectators are talking about the lovey-dovey scene shown by Natsu and Eiichiro, making Eiichiro embarrassed.
In the afternoon, as the STC members are leaving the courts, Eiichiro sees Nabae practicing. Eiichiro decides to stay and observes Nabae's movements. While observing, he is surprised when someone approaches Nabae and gives a racket when Nabae has already had a lot of rackets. When Araya approaches him, he learns through Araya that the veteran tennis players are given the chance to use new rackets as part of research and development of the tennis companies. Araya also shares how Nabae is helpful as he gives specific details on the rackets and how Nabae is sensitive on using tennis rackets. Upon hearing such details, Eiichiro now understand how Nabae's movements are smooth and fluid, as if the racket is already part of his body. Before Araya leaves, he confirms Eiichiro's relationship with Natsu.
In the hotel's lobby, Yukichi approaches Eiichiro as Eiichiro is reviewing his notes for his match against Nabae tomorrow. While they are having conversation on how Eiichiro will deal with Nabae's attacks, Takuma passes by. From Takuma, Eiichiro learns how Nabae used to lose his temper more than Araya. On the other hand, Nabae is also reviewing his evaluation on Eiichiro at his room when Takagi approaches him. Takagi remembers Nabae's nasty temper before during his matches and how Nabae manages to overcome it and becomes his strength. Nabae comments on how great Eiichiro's improvement compared to his previous match against him. Thinking how the speed of Eiichiro's evolution rivals of Ike, Nabae cannot help but to think of winning the match.
Before Eiichiro rests for the day, he reports to his mother regarding his current standing on the tournament and how he is about to face the number 1 player in Japan on tomorrow's tournament. Upon hearing it, his mother tells him that if Eiichiro has beat that opponent on tomorrow's match, she will reconsider her decision regarding Eiichiro's career. However, his mother asks Eiichiro if he has chance to beat that opponent, making Eiichiro ponder a bit. After the call, Coach Aoi enters the room and sees Eiichiro reviewing his strategy. Upon seeing Coach Aoi, Eiichiro asks him his opinion regarding on how to beat Nabae because Nabae seems to be flawless and has no weaknesses. Eiichiro wants to take risks but he has to consider the best way to do it. Coach Aoi notices how Eiichiro is enjoying this, making Eiichiro wonders about it. While Eiichiro starts to feel that he seems to be taking easy on his next match, Coach Aoi assures him that he is still fine, and in fact, he must use this opportunity to do things that he will never do when under pressure. While Eiichiro thinks that such strategy seems to be reckless, Coach Aoi tells him that there are times Eiichiro has to rely on his luck and experiences.
The following day, as Eiichiro is about to go to the courts, Natsu pulls him and tells him to go on a date after the Kanto Junior Tennis Tournament. Natsu tells this to have something to look forward after the tournament. Before Natsu leaves, she gives encouragement to Eiichiro to beat Nabae. Eiichiro wonders why he feels something different from usual as his combat mode did not change to romance mode even after his moment with Natsu. When Eiichiro enters the court, he feels the court to be seemingly small, which is a surprise for himself as he used to think that the court is big. He also feels more calmer than usual and his body feels lighter. Even in the match, Eiichiro goes to the ball faster than he thinks and manages to hit a counter. His attacks seem to be unusual, enough for Nabae to notice the change as well. As Eiichiro hits a return ace, Eiichiro confirms that he is currently closer to the zone.
Manga & Anime DifferencesEdit
- The scenes only present in the manga:
- Eiichiro remembers how Iwasa reacts whenever he looks at his racket
- Eiichiro's (concrete) evaluation on the current situation of his body
- The scenes only present in the anime:
- Yukichi commenting when Eiichiro reacting on Coach Aoi's remark and his conversation with Eiichiro in some scenes
- Takuma's and Takagi's appearances and the conversation involved