God of Tennis - Chapter 20.3
Chapter 20.3: Andrew vs Choi Yeon Hyuk #3
The short ten minute break went by quickly and the two players came back onto the court.
Even though they both rested the same amount of time, there was a difference in their faces that showed the difference in exhaustion between the player who lead the set to deuce and the one who lost the set.
Choi Yeon Hyuk let out a deep breath and gripped his racket tightly. He didn’t need to think about the set he just lost. He only needs to think about this new set and focus on winning. If he constantly regrets losing that set, then he might lose out on points he can get in the future.
Unfortunately, he’s still human and can’t help but regret. He knew that last set was very close and he barely lost by the skin of his teeth. Choi Yeon Hyuk twisted his neck and stretched in order to get rid of these thoughts and twisted his racket around.
The referee, seeing the two players were ready announced, “Set 2! Players ready!”
Compared to the beginning of the match, the only difference is that they look a bit more tired. It will probably be difficult for them to continue doing the high speed serve games like in the first set. They both look like they can’t play like they did in the first set. At least that’s what Choi Yeon Hyuk determined.
‘It will probably be decided by volleys.’
Choi Yeon Hyuk remembered Andrew Murray’s previous year’s match recordings and precisely thought back to the three specific skills that he used the most to win points.
First, was his fast and precise serve.
Second, was his fast reflexes that allowed him to receive the ball in weird positions.
And last was his ability to be able to volley from nearly anywhere on the court.
Jeon Sang Shik and Choi Yeon Hyuk discussed this before. They already used the first set to bring out all of his serves, and regarding his last two methods of getting points, they didn’t even talk about it because there was no strategy to counter his pure skills.
However, it’s a different story when it comes to volleys. They can at least decide how to respond in advance. He can choose to move forward and volley as well or he can use lobs to force him back if he comes too close to the net. To put it simply, those were the only two options for him.
Choi Yeon Hyuk thought to himself and wondered if he would be able to contest with him at the net.
‘I can do it.’
After practicing with Han Woo Jin, Choi Yeon Hyuk suggested two methods to Coach Jeon. One of them was to become an all-rounder or to specialize in one or two specific skill sets.
He chose to specialize.
Choi Yeon Hyuk volley skills improved greatly after practicing. He at least had the confidence to not lose when it came to volleys, even against Andrew Murray.
“Love all! Andrew to serve!”
Even though Andrew won the first set, he still chose to serve first in the second set.
Andrew thought for a little bit and then tossed up the ball.
A fast and forceful serve but with a smooth and quick motion that brought the racket up and down. But compared to the speed of the first set, it was lacking. It still came close to 200 km/h, but it was still within range of something that Choi Yeon Hyuk could return.
He ran forward and hit the ball. The ball was hit towards the side of the court in a sharp manner. The audience watching wouldn’t even think about receiving this ball. But the 190 cm tall person on the other side of the court could.
With one step forward.
Whenever he received the ball, Choi Yeon Hyuk stepped forward each time. If he just ran forward without thinking, he could lose a point. The best way was to close the distance without getting his opponent to notice.
On the other hand, as the game progressed, Andrew felt as if his opponent’s figure was getting larger for some reason and the speed of the ball was increasing as well which made it more difficult to return. He was feeling pressured.
‘What’s this feeling?’
He hit the ball and as soon as the ball he hit went over the net, before it could even hit the ground, Choi Yeon Hyuk, leapt forward with his racket and returned it.
He lost a point. Andrew thought that his speed wasn’t that different from the first set but he was currently confused as to why it was getting harder for him to return the ball.
‘What did he do just now?’
He was slightly bewildered. As he was still young, he still had some mental weakness and if he focuses on something like this, he wouldn’t be able to focus on the game. The edge of his racket was trembling as he threw up the ball for a serve.
“Shit.” Andrew mouthed. He needed to concentrate. He can’t be arrogant just because he won the first set. The Asian player in front of him isn’t someone that he can look down upon. Obviously, Andrew was the slightly better player but he needs to continue to be vigilant.
His next serve hit the sweet spot of his racket. He was not distracted enough to do a double fault.
It was different from his previous service ace serves from the first set. Both of the speeds of their serves has dropped.
Choi Yeon Hyuk returned the ball with a rising and the rally continued.
*Pang!*The ball flew towards Andrew’s forehand as he barely returned the ball. He specialized in backhands, and so if he used a forehand it didn’t look as natural. Of course, his forehand wasn’t bad, his backhand is just much better.
Choi Yeon Hyuk continued to hit toward Andrew’s forehand on the right side of the court. He knew beforehand that Andrew was a right-handed backhand player which is why this strategy was used.
However, it wasn’t easy to score a point. Andrew and Choi Yeon Hyuk’s forehand levels were similar. If Choi Yeon Hyuk hit the ball toward Andrew’s backhand, then he will basically be shooting himself in the foot.
The rally continued and the distance between the player gradually lessened. And as soon as Choi Yeon Hyuk reached the net, *Pang!*.
Slipper. He suddenly used a technique that he didn’t even know the name of. He lightly turned his wrist and sends the ball to the side close to a 90 degree angle. Which is why, Andrew who was standing far from the net wasn’t able to reach the ball.
That wasn’t a mistake.
Andrew realized what Choi Yeon Hyuk was doing to him after losing two points. His opponent was gradually moving upwards during each rally. That’s why it looked like he was gradually getting bigger and bigger.
‘He fooled me…!’
Andrew’s eyebrows made a V shape. He served with an explosive power that suited him. It as a serve that made it easy for the opponent to do a flat serve. He was basically saying to his opponent, ‘Let’s duke it out.’
GoT Chp 20.3 (part 2)
Without any hesitation Choi Yeon Hyuk began fighting.
Whenever, they hit the ball both of them stepped forward bit by bit. The court wasn’t that big in the first place, so they quickly closed their distance. They started from near the baseline and were now in front of the net.
‘You want to fight me in volleys?’
Andrew had a rough looking expression, while Choi Yeon Hyuk had a solemn look. Both players stepped past the service line.
The distance between them looked as if they could just stretch out their rackets and touch. If their reaction is behind by even 0.5 seconds then they will lose. This is the realm of a net player, to see who is the better volleyer.
Volleys are the main event of net plays and the point is to react faster than your opponent and hit them before they can react. If the opponent comes forward and responds to the ball with a volley, then it becomes a match of the speed of their reflexes and instinct.
The ball began to move between the two player at high speeds.
Their movements were efficient and simple but the speed of the ball wasn’t that fast but the moment, that a player makes a lapse in their judgment/movement then they lose.
They aren’t using their shoulder to move their arms, only from their elbow down to hit the ball. The most important part of a volley is to just block the ball. They don’t have any time to hit the ball with a stroke.
Andrew and Choi Yeon Hyuk both have great volley techniques. The audience watching the rally couldn’t help but hold their breaths, seeing the intense volleys.
Finally, Choi Yeon Hyuk grit his teeth and watched the ball. He decided to put his all into this one hit.
It was in a different direction from the other volleys. The ball flew directly toward Andrew really quickly. The ball unexpectedly wasn’t aimed at the court. This ball was aimed at his chest.
Andrew was shocked and quickly blocked the ball with his racket without thinking. The ball flew upwards after hitting his racket.
His opponent’s stance was broken and the ball was lightly falling down with the help of gravity.
Only a fool would miss this chance.
Choi Yeon Hyuk lifted his racket above his head and smashed it down on the ball. Andrew didn’t have enough time to reach the ball. Even though the volley battle was started by Choi Yeon Hyuk.
Andrew who lost this point, shouted out. The referee gave him a warning but he couldn’t hear it. How dare he aim the ball at me. The ball wasn’t a foul but it was obviously an unsportsmanlike conduct.
Choi Yeon Hyuk maintained his calm expression even though his opponent was staring daggers at him. Getting him riled up in just the first game was enough. He’s the one that will be at a disadvantage if he continues to play as hard as he did in the first set. There was no reason for him to play with the same intensity as him.
Andrew continued to give hard serves, but Choi Yeon Hyuk returned them right away. Andrew whose mentality was shaken from before failed to receive Choi Yeon Hyuk’s return stroke.
This was the first time during this match that Choi Yeon Hyuk got ahead.
“Game Yeonhyuk Choi!”
The tides have turned.
Han Woo Jin spoke with a trembling voice. It was because he has seen Choi Yeon Hyuk’s style of before. It was the dirty play that he himself used during the company’s test. It was a smash that was aimed at the opponent’s body.
Coach Jeon snickered.
“It looks like he only learned bad things from a certain someone. I wonder who he learned it from.”
He had nothing to say. To think that the Korea’s future Prince of Tennis would resort to dirty plays by using a body shot. It felt as if he pressured his friend into trying his first cigarette. Han Woo Jin stared down at the court guiltily.
Choi Yeon Hyuk’s face had no expression as if he forgot about what happened during the first set. He was currently only focused on winning his current game.
Is this good or bad for him?
For now, there is no way to know either way.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen from this point on. He is resorting to dirty play which shows that he is doing his best to win.”
Jeon Sang Shik seemed surprised as he looked at Choi Yeon Hyuk who was hitting the ball.
With his clean-shaven face and polite appearance, he looked like kind boy. He looked like the kind of man who would play by the rules and always respectfully shook his opponent’s hand after every match.
However, right now he looked like Han Woo Jin. He looked like he would do anything to win the match, even resorting to body shots as if it was a dog fight. It isn’t bad because it shows his will to win but the way he is playing is completely different from his usual style.
Coach Jeon told him in the beginning that his chances of winning were 3:7 or 2:8 against him, but now the chances were flipped. Han Woo Jin looked over at Coach Jeon and asked, because he was curious if Choi Yeon Hyuk could beat Andrew.
“Can he win?”
Coach Jeon didn’t answer right away.
He looked at the two players who were hitting the ball back and forth dizzily.
“Game Yeonhyuk Choi!”
At that moment, Choi Yeon Hyuk won his serve game. Utilizing serve and volley, he won just like the previous game. Andrew was gnashing his teeth with an expression of pure anger. The two players both with completely different expressions, changed sides on the court.
Coach Jeon, then opened his mouth with a casual voice.
“He can’t win.”
Choi Yeon Hyuk won two games in a row. He even led this game pretty well. If they just looked at the volley techniques, then Choi Yeon Hyuk was doing better than Andrew. He had his special technique the ‘Slipper’ and was utilizing body shots, so he had a chance to win.
Regardless of all of this, Coach Jeon’s face was sure. He was confident that Choi Yeon Hyuk won’t win this match. Han Woo Jin couldn’t understand why but Jeon Sang Shik didn’t answer him. He gave him an expression as if he would know if he watched a bit longer.
The two people stopped talking and continued watching the players play. Choi Yeon Hyuk continued doing what was enabling him to win which was net play and Andrew kept on trying to stop Choi Yeon Hyuk from doing net plays.
“Game Yeonhyuk Choi!”
The third game also went to Choi Yeon Hyuk.
Andrew continued to lose so his serves were getting worse and the situation was getting bad for him.
“Game Yeonhyuk Choi!”
The game score was now 0-4. Anybody can now say that Choi Yeon Hyuk was destroying his opponent. Was Coach Jeon’s judgment wrong?
While he watching watch the match that Choi Yeon Hyuk was leading, Han Woo Jin, bent over to reach his racket. Because he wanted to check to see if he was missing anything. The status window will give him more information.
As soon as he grabbed his racket and looked at the court. Han Woo Jin’s mouth widened in an O.
Before Han Woo Jin could say anything, the referee spoke first.
Andrew finally winning his first game could mean something. But what Han Woo Jin was looking at wasn’t the score. Coach Jeon gave him an expression as if it said, ‘Now do you see?’
“How could this….’
The status window inside his head showed Choi Yeon Hyuk’s exact status. Han Woo Jin now understood why he said Choi Yeon Hyuk won’t win.
[Choi Yeon Hyuk] (Exhausted)
HP 720/2600 SP 530/710