The episode starts with flashback with Ryoma and Sanada agreeing to a match. Akutsu Jin on a passing train recognizes Ryoma on the tennis court. Sanada introduces himself to Ryoma and Ryoma does likewise. Sanada serves first. The serve is so quick that Ryoma does not have time to react. Sanada serves again, but Ryoma is too slow. Ryoma compliments Sanada and starts doing his hop, which Sanada recognizes is the start of Split Step. Ryoma catches up to Sanadas third serve, but the serve is so powerful that his racquet is knocked out of his hand. His hand is still shaking from the aftereffects. Sanada orders Ryoma to get the ball, which he does, but Ryoma replies to be patient and serves it back at Sanada. Sanada catches the ball with his racquet. Sanada serves again and Ryoma successfully returns. However, Sanada responds quickly and smashes the ball, winning the first game of the one set match. Ryoma tells himself that hell turn the game around before he serves. Sanada also does a hop in preparation for split step and easily does a return ace. Akutsu shows up in the background and notes that Sanada is not your average player. Ryoma is already breathing heavily. Time elapses. Sanada serves getting a service ace putting the score at match point. More time elapses cutting to Ryoma returning a shot, but Sanada easily returns his shot to win the game and match. Ryoma goes falling to the ground. Akutsu silently observes this all. Sanada before leaving tells Ryoma that their match was better than playing a wall. Ryoma packs his bag in silence.
Ryoma is standing against the window in the hallway, when the freshmen trio run up to him and inquire about his whereabouts the previous day. They mention the other team members were worried about him. He tells them had had stuff to take care of and walks away. Ryoma is in class staring off into space thinking of the match he lost against Sanada. His teacher calls on him to answer a question, and teachers scolds him. The teacher tells him to wash up. Ryoma leaves the class and washes his face in the bathroom. He hits the mirror to let out his frustration.
Everyone at practice is staring at Ryoma. Ryoma during his rally with Momoshiro has continuously either hit the net or hit the ball out. Momoshiro yells at Ryoma to be serious. Ryoma still hits the ball out. Momoshiro stops the rally and asks if hes alright. Everyone notices that Ryoma isnt his normal self.
Ryoma approaches Kawamura and asks him if he will continuously hit his Hadoukyuu. Oishi tells Ryoma that its too much for Kawamura during matches let alone practice. Kawamura tells Oishi not to worry about and that he wont injure himself. Ryoma thanks him. On the court, Kawamura is in burning mode. He asks one of the freshmen to serve to him and he does a hadoukyuu. Ryomas racquet is knocked out of his hands. Kawamura does hadoukyuus repeatedly, but Ryoma is unsuccessful in returning any of them. Kawamura has to quit by the end because his wrist gives out. Momoshiro reminds Ryoma to thank Kawamura and he does. Oishi ends practice for the day.
Kawamura is walking home when he meets up with Akutsu. Akutsu tells Kawamura about Ryoma and Sanadas match. Ryoma hadnt scored any points in the entire game and Sanada hadnt used any special techniques at all. Akutsu mentions Sanadas power, speed, and control; Sanada is at a higher level. Kawamura realizes that Ryoma saw his Hadoukyuu as if it were Sanadas shot. Kawamura apologizes to Akutsu for coming out so far just to tell him this. Akutsu asks Kawamura for his racquet.
Ryoma is still on the courts hitting balls. Hes about to go for a ball, when Akutsu picks up the ball he was going for. Akutsu challenges Ryoma. During play, Ryoma pictures Akutsu as Sanada and hits the ball out. Akutsu taunts him and serves again. Ryoma misses the ball. Akutsu taunts Ryoma some more continues making shots at Ryoma. Ryoma has lost 4 straight games. Akutsu continues to goad Ryoma and points out when they played Ryoma had a look of focus and determination then. Akutsu serves again and Ryoma returns. Akutsu returns, but Ryoma sidesteps and hits the ball between Akutsus legs. Ryoma tells him it wont end like this. You can see Ryomas inner fire reflected in his eyes. Meanwhile Kawamura observes their game from the bleachers above. They continue playing with Ryoma returning to his normal self until Akutsu tires from not playing tennis in a while. Akutsu before leaving the courts tells Ryoma to let the one who defeated him feel his own defeat without hesitation. Ryoma finally notices Kawamura in the bleachers. Ryoma takes off his hat and bows toward the departing Akutsu. After the match, Kawamura thanks Akutsu and also notes Ryoma seems to be back to normal. Akutsu roughly hands back Kawamuras racquet, grabs his jacket and says he did it to pay the brat (Ryoma) a lesson. Ryoma continues to practice, but with renewed passion.