God of Tennis - Chapter 13.2
Chapter 13.2: Andong Futures Finals #2
Okuta frowned upon seeing Han Woo Jin’s strange posture across the net. He knew that this was going to be a dangerous serve and he felt it instinctively.
‘It’s that serve.’
It was a serve that he was unfamiliar with and he had the same reaction as Player Kim Jin Hyun. Even Agent Sato also told him that was a very strange serve. He rewatched the serve several times but he still wasn’t able to see the direction that the ball went in.
Okuta expected to lose against this serve but his entire body was completely focused.
Just as he got ready, Han Woo Jin swung his racket. It was even scarier and faster than a flat serve as it traveled quickly to his side of the court.
The serve was faster than he expected as he saw its release and he contemplated which direction it would go.
‘Right? Left? Where will it bounce?’
He had a 50 percent chance of guessing it right. Thus, he just decided to switch his racket to his left hand. He thought Han Woo Jin would aim to his left because that was his weak side.
The ball bounced on the right side.
Hearing the referee announce the score, Han Woo Jin smirked. Okuta’s thoughts were completely obvious. It was a face that Han Woo Jin himself made many times when he grinded his brain thinking about how something happened because he had little talent.
‘I’ll make it frustrating for you.’
The third serve was Sparrow once again. With a despicable face, Han Woo Jin threw up the ball.
You could see that Okuta once again was completely focused on trying to predict where the ball would bounce up, and whether it would travel left or right. However, it was impossible for Okuta to know where the ball would bounce.
Okuta thought that because the ball bounced right last time, it would bounce left this time. So he switched his racket to his left hand. Unfortunately, the ball bounced to the right again.
If you were close enough, you could hear Okuta grinding his teeth in anger. The game went completely in his opponent’s favor. Before he could reinforce his mental state, his opponent served immediately.
“Game Han Woo Jin! Switch sides!”
‘Damn.’ Okuta quietly let out a curse under his breath. This was his first time losing a game without scoring a single point ever since he began tennis.
Since it was his turn to receive the ball, Han Woo Jin stood a bit farther from the service line. If he was cautious and focused, it wouldn’t be too hard for him to receive Okuta’s serves. He bent over slightly and maintained his balance.
“Okuta to serve, play!”
The ball flew up. Okuta fiercely swung at the ball that was falling down. He was holding a new racket with his left hand.
However, Han Woo Jin was one step ahead of Okuta.
When Okuta tossed the ball up, Han Woo Jin had already moved to where the ball was going to land.
As soon as the ball bounced up, Han Woo Jin’s racket was there to hit it back. As the ball flew over the net, he suddenly started running up.
‘Serve and volley?’
‘How’s my return?’ Okuta thought as he glared at Han Woo Jin.
Han Woo Jin wasn’t impressed. ‘Is he happy that he scored one point? He needs to worry more about his strategy and how much longer he can use it for.’
With a condescending expression on his face, he waited for the next serve. Okuta hit his second serve with an unhappy expression because Han Woo Jin’s face didn’t change at all.
This time, he used his right hand.
Han Woo Jin looked at Okuta move as expected.
Okuta Ryusuke’s serve and volley wasn’t bad. His serve wasn’t that great but his follow-up move of coming up to volley was good enough to allow him to score a point.
‘I don’t care if you’re good or not.’
Han Woo Jin knew a player that was much better at serve and volley than Okuta.
His volley was returned to him straight at his chest.
The surprised Okuta instinctively raised his racket. Players who weren’t used to body shots always did the same thing. It was much more difficult to hit a ball that is aimed at your chest and head than your arms or legs.
*Tung — Pang!*
The ball hit his racket as he covered his chest and it flew over to Han Woo Jin’s side. Okuta, who was still stunned by the previous hit, was standing there blankly and he lost the point. He didn’t expect things to turn out that way.
Han Woo Jin looked at Okuta whose eyes were trembling while staring back at him and he bent over in preparation.
‘Is this guy brave like Yeon Hyuk?’
Han Woo Jin didn’t think so. And what he thought was correct.
This serve was a bit slower than the previous one and Okuta was about to move up from the service line, but he stopped himself. He remembered the body shot he received earlier and stopped.
Han Woo Jin waited for this moment and lightly hit the ball with his racket. A short drop shot.
It was a simple play. The same strategy he used on Choi Yeon Hyuk was reused on Okuta and it was much more effective because of his inexperience.
However, if he knew how to respond to the body shot, it would easy for him to return it.
If Okuta was like Choi Yeon Hyuk and could deal with body shots, then he probably could win a point with his serve and volley. Or Okuta could stay in the middle of the court to maintain distance from the body shots and yet still be in range of reaching the drop shots.
Okuta, who specially trained this serve and volley for this moment, couldn’t think about how to counter it as he only scored one point. He could only think about the ineffectiveness of his strategy.
He had no idea about what to do and just served because the referee was rushing him.
Han Woo Jin noticed his confusion just used drop shots and body shots to win more points.
He had won three points in a row. If he won one more point, he would win the game.
In tennis, if you won a game off your opponent’s serve, the term for that was ‘break’. It was considered pretty good if you obtained two breaks in a set.
Also, since Okuta was a newbie genius, he had never allowed an opponent to get a break on him before.
‘Break? I’m letting him get a break? Even when I came abroad to Korea?’
His self-confidence crumbled and his strategy was broken. He was lost and didn’t know what to do as Han Woo Jin continued to break him.
Without thinking, Okuta tossed up the ball and served.
Han Woo Jin looked as if he didn’t care about Okuta’s state of mind and he looked at him expressionlessly throughout the entire game. If a person becomes too enraged by his emotions, they become more simple to read.
“Game Han Woo Jin!”
Return ace. With an expression of disbelief and anger of losing this game to a break, Okuta dropped his racket.
It was now Han Woo Jin’s turn to serve as he tightly gripped his racket.
The outcome was clear.
Han Woo Jin was stronger.
The pace of the game did not change from the first three games.
Han Woo Jin easily won his games with the continuous use of Sparrow and his fast serves. If it was Han Woo Jin’s turn to serve, he would quickly score the point. The ball didn’t pass over the net four times for him to get a point.
Okuta’s mental was so unstable that he even double-faulted several times and Han Woo Jin won many breaks. That was the reason why the score went to 6-0.
[Player Han Woo Jin has defeated Player Okuta who is representing Japan, and he won the first set with a perfect score!]
The entire audience at the Seogwipo tournament cheered. Whenever a Korean player beat a Japanese player, it always made the Korean audience excited.
Of course, it wasn’t good to show bad emotions when two athletes from different nations were competing, but it could not be helped.
Han Woo Jin wiped his sweat off his face and hair and sat on the bench. The break time was longer because it was the finals.
He felt fatigued as soon as he sat down on the bench. Although he won all the games, he still ran around a lot. Yet Okuta was more exhausted because he had mental fatigue from his losing streak.
Tennis was a solitary sport.
This was because players could not talk to anyone while in game, including their coaches. Even if a player went to the restroom, the referee needed to follow him and the player has to be from the start of the game.
Even if he kept losing, no one could console and encourage him. And even if he were doing something wrong, he had to figure it out himself. He could only trust himself.
Han Woo Jin took out the cool water bottle and towel from his bag that was meticulously prepared by Shin Sae Yeon. She prepared well as there was a water bottle alongside an ice pack.
He quenched his thirst with the cool water and after he wiped his sweat off, he felt more energized. Han Woo Jin looked over at Okuta who sat not that far from him. He was bent over and was looking down.
Han Woo Jin thought about one thing.
‘If I didn’t play this game, would Okuta have won?’
The ‘previous’ Han Woo Jin would have still been practicing by himself. At that time, Okuta would have been in this tournament and he probably would have won. At least there wasn’t a situation like this for him back then.
Maybe Han Woo Jin might tear down one of the future world rankers. If he was completely broken like this, his confidence would crumble also.
If he was a person who was treated like a rising star, then it was easier for him to fall down.
For some unknown reason, Han Woo Jin felt bad for him. He was envious of Choi Yeon Hyuk and Okuta who were going to be one of the few future world rankers. Han Woo Jin didn’t want to lose to them, but he also didn’t want to crush their spirits.
However, he could not cheer him up. Players weren’t allowed to speak to each other during breaks.
The two players’ silence continued until the referee announced that the break was over.
[The break time is over! Player Han Woo Jin and Player Okuta, please come up to the court.]
Although he couldn’t completely understand it, he knew what was being said. Okuta blankly stared at the court and got up. His face was pale but his will to play was still there.
As Han Woo Jin looked at him, he turned on his status window.
[Perfect play! Due to your perfect victory, your experience has gone up.]
[‘Special skill – Smash’. You have ½ completed the skill.]
Han Woo Jin was surprised to see that notification. It was because the second notification was completely unexpected.