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46 "Samurai Spirit"

"Samurai Tamashii" (サムライ魂)

August 28, 2002 October 8, 2007
Akutsu's unique playing style continues to overwhelm Ryoma. Meanwhile, Kawamura reminiscences about Akutsu's violent history, where Akutsu is shown to have always been talented in physical activities. Though Ryoma believes he has finally found a way to overcome his opponent's unique style and score, Akutsu shows his potential as a tennis player. Despite it, Ryoma's determination allows him to finally score a point against Akutsu. As the match continues, Ryoma is finally able to adjust to Akutsu's style.
47 "I Can't Lose!"

"Makerarenai!" (負けられない!)

September 4, 2002 October 20, 2007
Evolving with each and every play, Ryoma holds his own against Akutsu, and finally turns the game around. After a flashback of how coach Banji recruited Akutsu into Yamabuki's tennis club, Banji gives Akutsu some "secret advice" in order to help him get back the advantage after seeing that he is starting to struggle. With it, Akutsu's determination to win in the tennis match increases, forcing back Ryoma once again, though the latter refuses to back down.
48 "The Decisive Moment"

"Ketchaku no Toki" (決着の瞬間(とき))

September 11, 2002 November 5, 2007
With Ryoma one point away from winning the match, the two, who are now on even footing, continue to struggle against each other. However, in the end, Ryoma's spirit and overwhelming potential help him win in the match, and would also win Akutsu's grudging respect. To everyone's surprise, Akutsu then announces his retirement from tennis. After the tournament's ceremony, Taichi Dan is inspired to become a tennis player by Akutsu and Ryoma.
49 "Free-Style Fighting"

"Different Kind of Fight // Ishukaku Tōsen" (異種核闘戦)

September 18, 2002 November 19, 2007
When Rikkaidai's Akaya Kirihara accidentally stops at the wrong bus stop, he ends up visiting Seishun Academy. While he causes trouble for the Seigaku regulars during practice, the freshmen are stuck doing classroom duties. Horio then gets into trouble with an upperclassman, who is also a basketball player. In order to protect him, Ryoma and the basketball player have a free throw contest, with Ryoma using a tennis ball for a basketball and a broom for a racket. When he wins, he forces the upperclassman to do his remaining classroom duties.
50 "A Seigaku Tradition"

"Seigaku's Claim to Fame! // Seigaku Meibutsu!" (青学名物!)

September 25, 2002 December 3, 2007
During the intraschool ranking matches, Momoshiro, Inui, and Tezuka all end up in the same block, meaning that one of them will not become a regular. With the other blocks finishing up, some of the regulars secure their spot on the team. However, when Momoshiro is defeated by both Tezuka and Inui, he ends up being the one knocked off the team. Later, Inui, who has been collecting data on his teammates all this time, attempts a victory over the intractable Tezuka.
51 "Inui's Challenge"

"Inui no Chōsen" (乾の兆戦)

October 2, 2002
Though the game starts off evenly matched, Inui begins to pull ahead by using his determination, the extra training he has done, and the data he has been gathering on Tezuka since their freshman years. As Tezuka continues to struggle against Inui's Data Tennis, Inui manages to return one of Tezuka's diffucult drop shots. However, Tezuka reveals uses a technique that shocks both his opponent and the spectators.
52 "Seigaku's Biggest Crisis"

"Seigaku Saidai no Kiki" (青学最大の危機)

October 9, 2002
Tezuka uses the "Tezuka Zone", a technique which controls the spin of the ball so it will always return to him, and his "Zero-Shiki drop shot", a shot that rolls backward once it falls on the ground, to defeat Inui. Meanwhile, Momoshiro disappears and temporarily leaves the team causing anxiety within the whole team. When discussing Momoshiro's recent leave, Oishi and Eiji get into an argument when Eiji makes some "insensitive remarks", causing a division in the Golden Pair when they separate to play a doubles match with Kaido and Ryoma.
53 "The Momo Who's Returned"

"Kaettekita Momo" (帰ってきた桃)

October 16, 2002 -
Momoshiro recovers his spirit after a match with Fudomine student and Tachibana's younger sister, Ann Tachibana, and also with an encounter with two of Hyotei Academy's regulars. Meanwhile, the Golden Pair makes up, and Tezuka is shown refusing Ryuzaki's offer to study abroad in Germany, choosing to stay in order to lead his team to the Nationals.

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