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Yonex Ezone 98L Deep Blue Tennis Racquet Review

Racquet Specs

  • Head Size: 98 sq. in. MP
  • Length: 27 inches
  • Weight: Strung — 10.6 oz Unstrung — 10.1 oz
  • Tension: 45-60 Pounds
  • Balance: 1 Pts Head Light
  • Beam Width: 23/24/19mm
  • Composition: HM Graphite/M40X with HM Graphite/VDM
  • Flex: 64
  • Grip Type: Yonex Synthetic
  • Power Level: Medium
  • String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses 
  • Shared Holes: None
  • Main Skip: 8T, 8H
  • Swing Speed: Fast, Long Swing
  • Swing Weight: 312

 

Yonex Ezone 98L Deep Blue Tennis Racquet | Tennis Express

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Intro

 

With Yonex steadily growing in popularity, they’re looking to capitalize in 2020 by bringing a fresh update to the Ezone family of frames. Looking to bridge the gap between the fan favorite DR generation and the most recent model, the new Yonex Ezone 98L sports some additional tech upgrades in a lighter package than the standard 98. In the throat of the frame, Yonex uses a new elastic graphite called M40X in the throat of the frame for improved flex without sacrificing stability. Yonex has also brought over Vibration Dampening Mesh (VDM) from the Vcore Pro line. Integrated into the handle, VDM filters vibration without negatively impacting feel. Liner Tech grommets return, reducing string to frame friction for better feel and responsiveness. I’ve enjoyed Yonex frames for several years so I was excited to put this lighter 98L version of the Ezone to the test.

 

Groundstrokes

 

Much like the regular 98, it was readily apparent how much cleaner the 98L felt in the upper part of the hoop. The previous version had been very stiff in the top of the hoop and I was impressed at how much Yonex had addressed the problem. The 98 in head and Isometric shape provided an ample sweet spot. At 10.6 oz strung and even balanced, it was easy to ramp up the pace on groundstrokes without missing too much of the mass of the standard 98. I was able to control groundstrokes, despite the easy swing speed of the frame. Depth was easy to generate although my shots didn’t feel as heavy as they did coming off the heavier version. Spin production was easy to come by with the nicely spaced 16 x 19 pattern. I was able to generate plenty of margin on shots and enjoyed the extra clearance on my backhand. The denser string spacing in the middle of the pattern kept my shots from flying while still allowing for plenty of spin variation. The 98L was slightly less accurate than the standard 98, but I was still able to hit aggressively and pick tight targets with a lot of confidence. Stability was definitely a bit reduced on the 98L as the reduced mass made it a bit more susceptible to twisting against heavy shot making. The tradeoff was that the 98L’s fast swinging nature made it easy to whip shots on the run or when stretched out on defense. I enjoyed being able to flick passing shots and running winners past opponents thanks to the fast reflexes the racquet possessed.

 

Volleys & Serves

 

At net, the 98L proved out the Ezone line’s reputation as one of the most controllable tweener style frames on the market. It had plenty of put away power for making easy work of anything left sitting for me. The light weight also made it easy to position during exchanges and I was easily able to stay in front of balls at the net. With a bit less mass, I had to be careful not to be too casual with volleys otherwise the 98L would leave balls floating. As long as I was attacking, I felt confident I could volley to a variety of targets and angles. The frame struggled a little bit against high pace and body shots and preferred the extra mass of the regular 98 in those situations. The 98L had above average stability for its weight class however. The touch and feel were improved in this version compared to the previous Ezone. I was able to execute drop and touch volleys with a higher degree of success.

 

As with the standard 98, the Ezone 98L provided me with multiple options on serve. The easy acceleration allowed me to generate easy pace on big first serves. While they lacked the court penetration of the 98L’s big brother, there was still plenty of pace present to snag a few free points. The Ezone line was not as precise as the Vcore Pro series and the 98L stayed true in that regard. I wasn’t able to drop serves on a dime but I was able to move my serve around the box and hit big targets with variation. The 98L was effective on second serve, with the swing speed and spin friendly pattern working together for high bouncing kick serves. The reduced mass lessened the bite on my slice serve so I mainly relied on getting my kick serve out of returners’ strike zones on second serve.

 

Feel & Comfort

 

The feel of the new 98L was much more enjoyable than the outgoing model. I appreciated the softer feeling upper hoop on contact. It may not have been as plush as the DR generation but it was a noticeable improvement over the outgoing model. The VDM in the handle did an impressive job controlling and mitigating vibration. Periodically the feedback did seem a little numb, but as a whole I was happy with the balance the frame struck between softness and responsiveness. Feel across the string bed was more uniform and as someone who tends to hit high in the string bed, I was satisfied with the response in the upper part of the hoop. The 98L had improved comfort over the last version, providing smooth feel even when contact was made off center. Player should be able to use a variety of string and tension setups with limited concerns regarding comfort.

 

Overall

 

Yonex has produced a very well balanced racquet line with the new Ezone update. The 98L packs all of the technological advancements in a lighter, easy to use package. It boasts easy power and speed while retaining solid levels of control and feel. The compact head size makes it easy to use from anywhere on court and it has excellent defensive capabilities. The new Yonex Ezone 98L is an outstanding choice for players seeking power and comfort in a highly mobile setup.

 

About the Reviewer: Matt Locke formerly served for 3 years as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho. He is a PTR certified coach and is an active USTA 4.5 League and Tournament player.

 


 

 

 


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