Absorption (吸収 Kyūshū) is the 308th chapter of manga, Baby Steps.
Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit
Eiichiro wins in two straight sets against Asano by using a technical tennis that has both power and speed.
Ei-chan wins. Araya and Kanda also win. In the second set of Ei-chan's match with Asano, the score is 1-1. The current game is Ei-chan's serve and Asano takes the point with a drop shot: 40-30. Ei-chan thinks he was beaten by Asano's strategy. Up to now, he'd stolen the advantage with the course and variety of his shots, so now Ei-chan decides to go with power. He holds his game with an ace: 2-1. Asano thinks Ei-chan's set up for his serve is skillful. Even if he overcomes that, he's a long way from breaking Ei-chan's change of pace. Ei-chan thinks he's being beaten in ingenious strategy, but he's managing to hold. He's better in terms of coordination, reaction, speed, power, and coping. Miyamoto, the reporter from Tennis Times, is apparently watching the match and marvels at how strong Ei-chan has gotten. Asano feels that once a strategy is shown to Ei-chan, Ei-chan immediately comes up with a plan, so his strategy isn't getting through and he thinks he'd have to switch to different strategies in succession. Ei-chan's surprised by the numerous strategies, but he thinks that because Asano is trying various things, he (Ei-chan) has to cope with them, which increases his tactical patterns. Ei-chan uses a play that Asano had played a while ago. [LOL He's using Asano's strategies against him!] Asano senses his tactics are being absorbed by Ei-chan. He's shocked: Wait a second! It can't be as simple as that! Impossible! Are you considering they're strategies I'd spent how much time cultivating? And with his youth, Ei-chan is doing so in such a short time—and coping and using them well against him who doesn't have speed, power, and reaction time. Ei-chan takes the point with a drop shot, bringing him to break point: 40-30. Asano is certain he's being cornered.
While playing, Ei-chan's ideal crosses his mind: [To make?] a new technical tennis that has both power and speed the top of the next world... Asano's reaction on being broken: Hey, hey! I'm not happy! Miyamoto considers how Asano's being beaten symbolic of the passing of a generation [Ei-chan's generation taking over from the old guard]. When the score is 5-2 with Ei-chan leading, Ei-chan fills out his notes as usual. He thinks he has to surpass those ahead of him. An intense rally continues... It results in Ei-chan winning the game, set, and match in straight sets. So the final score is 6-4, 6-3, and Ei-chan makes it to the final selection.
After Ei-chan's match with Asano, he seems to be set up to defeat Nabae and Takuma. Since Nabae and Ei-chan have similar analytical styles, Ei-chan now has the option of switching to different strategies in succession, so that Nabae can't rely on Ei-chan's data. And when Asano was doing serve and volley (Takuma's style), Ei-chan noted that Asano's ball touch was even more delicate than Takuma's, and yet Ei-chan defeated him. Add that to what Ei-chan learned when he played Pete, and a match with Takuma seems even more likely, one where Natsu's prediction finally comes true. But since Takuma's JTA ranking is 9th, the earliest Ei-chan might go up against him is 2R. Ei-chan's 1R opponent is likely to be a pro—or Nabae as the All-Japan Junior champion or whoever the All-Japan Intercollegiate champion is.