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Racquet Reviews: "Triple Threat" sticks blend power, spin, control
These six racquets have all the bases covered, and give users a combination an all-around experience on the match court.
Published Aug 22, 2022
WATCH: Elina Svitolina delivers racquets for Ukrainian refugees in Miami.
**1. Babolat Pure Aero
For the eighth generation of the seminal frame, Babolat designed each racquet in the line to match particular types of players. To give users of the standard Pure Aero better command, Babolat narrowed the spacing of the 16x19 string pattern to the slightly denser configuration of the 2013 model. Additionally, the SMAC vibration filtering material from the past model has been replaced by NF2 Tech (flax fibers) at strategic points around the frame. It serves the same purpose, but is a more natural product that offers better feel at contact.
**2. Dunlop CX 200 Limited
The “C” in Dunlop’s CX racquet line stands for control. But where the 200 model is concerned, it just as easily could signify classic comfort and creativity. That’s because the thin, flexible frame has an old-school, smooth feel to go along with dependable all-court playability. It doesn’t have the power and spin capabilities of the company’s FX and SX racquets, but there’s just enough of both in it for skilled players to make the most of this frame’s precision. The new, sleek Limited Edition is a cosmetic update to the burgundy and black colorway released last year.
**3. Head Extreme MP 2022
The previous iteration of the Extreme was the most popular in its history, so only minor changes were in order for this update. The slight “knock” from consumers on the outgoing MP was that it could be unruly. To address it, Head added Auxetic—a construction design in the yoke—to promote a more dependable response at contact. The string pattern, still a spin-friendly 16x19 configuration, has denser spacing to produce a more reliable ball. Lastly, the balance of the frame is now more head-light, to lower the power and enhance maneuverability.
**4. Tecnifibre T-Fight ISO 305
When US Open champion Daniil Medvedev returns to Queens, he’ll be swinging this new T-Fight. The update carries over the unique RS section, which fuses the control and stability of a square shape profile with the power of an elliptic beam. What’s new is the addition of Isoflex: frame stiffness varies depending on the length of the string to create a more consistent response across the entire hitting surface. It packs a punch, but the unusual 18x19 string pattern offers good command and added spin potential over a traditional 18x20 setup.
**5. Wilson Ultra 100 v4
The Ultra underwent an extensive overhaul. The shaft has been thinned out by approximately 20% to improve aerodynamics and feel in the offhand while still delivering a powerful, penetrating shot. The racquet has superior stability and comfort thanks to the addition of the FortyFive bending technology to the layup. It also has the dynamic color-shifting paint scheme introduced in the Blade v8 frames— depending on the angle, it can appear anywhere from teal/blue to purple. The response, after much playtesting? Hands down, the best Ultra to date.
**6. Yonex Osaka EZONE 98
Filled with bold coloring and eye-catching graphics, the Osaka EZONE is a special edition of the popular frame. Designed by Naomi and her sister, Mari, the duo created a powerful cosmetic that represents Osaka’s fighting spirit. The frame is marked by hints of gold, green and purple accents, amaryllis cluster and most notably two dragons—one for each sister. Ably bridging the ‘tweener and player’s categories, the 98 is the model Osaka endorses, and it has the same specs, technologies and performance as the previously released blue EZONE.