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Episode 23 (S2)

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Characters In Order of AppearanceEdit

SummaryEdit

With Eiichiro being close to the zone, he gets the lead of the match from Nabae. However, as Eiichiro is starting to lose his best condition, Nabae starts attacking Eiichiro's critical shots.

SynopsisEdit

S2E23 Nabae observing Eiichiro

Nabae observing Eiichiro's "true nature" while Eiichiro is playing at his best condition

Eiichiro realizes that his condition is closer to the zone, similar to the one he had in his match against Ide. Nabae notices Eiichiro's unusual aggression on his attacks and decides to hold the attacks for the latter. With Eiichiro's current condition and concentration, he easily manages to break Nabae's service game at the start of the first set, which surprises everyone. As Eiichiro is playing at his best condition, Nabae uses this opportunity to determine Eiichiro's "true nature" - what Eiichiro often does when a certain attack appears. However, as Nabae continues to observe, he cannot help but be impressed on Eiichiro's attacks.

Eiichiro continues to rely on his instincts and in his best condition but it is starting to break down. As he commits more mistakes and realizes the cause of deteriorating condition, he starts to get more anxious. Nabae grabs this opportunity for counterattack and breaks Eiichiro's service game. Realizing that maintaining such an ideal condition at all times is not easy, Eiichiro decides to change his mindset into a realistic style of play. He may not be in his ideal condition anymore, but he still manages to score using his change-of-pace strategy. However, Nabae still manages to hold his service game.

S2E23 Nabae changing ball control

Nabae is forcibly changing the ball course even though he is correctly positioned to do so

During the break, Eiichiro realizes that Nabae is targeting his flat shots - the foundation of Eiichiro's change-of-pace strategy. He decides to limit the usage of his flat shots to winning shots. But it is difficult for him to execute such strategy as the shots are weak to hit a winning shot and he also has to break Nabae's stance in case no opportunity for a winning shot appears. He also has to deal with Nabae's sudden change on the ball control in order to counter. He tries to break Nabae's service game but Nabae manages to read Eiichiro's moves and holds his service game.

Eiichiro remembers his conversation with Coach Aoi the night before the match. Coach Aoi suggests Eiichiro to do things that he will never do when he is under pressure - something that he usually considers risky. He takes this opportunity to do such risky suggestion as he is still in the lead of the game and he has to change something in order to hold his service game. It does not help that as he has to do more risky moves, Nabae is now targeting his top spin as well.

Manga & Anime DifferencesEdit

  • Some of the scenes when acquiring points during the game are only present in the anime.
  • Some of the monologues and narrations in the manga are put in Yukichi and Coach Aoi's conversation
  • Eiichiro and Coach Aoi's full discussion regarding on "doing the things Eiichiro will never do under pressure" are put here instead of the previous episode.

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