This racket is/was used by
Viktor Axelsen (DEN), Kento Momota (JPN), Chou Tien Chen (TPE), Lin Dan (CHN)
The Yonex Duora Z Strike looks impressive out of the box. I expected the colour to be a little dull as it is a black and white combination. But the golden-orange and the red graphics on the sides of the racket makes it look much better, while still maintaining a classy look.
Unlike many reviews on the internet, I personally use a product for at least two weeks before reviewing. I feel that this allows me the time understand the product and to give the best accurate review to the visitors of StickSmash.com.
I will continue this review by comparing it with the much more popular rackets like the Duora 10 and the Voltric Z force 2 (which you might have already used). This will allow you guys to easily relate with the things I write here.
Before I laid my hands on this racket I always thought, “The Duora Z Strike is an even-balanced racket. So why did Lin Dan use it in the Sudirman Cup 2017? He normally uses head heavy racket.” [UPDATE: He is not using this racket anymore.]
But there are reasons for this, which I will explain.
The Duora 10 has a more flexible shaft than the Z strike. But when put to a racket stiffness test, both of them performed equally. This is because the Duora Z strike shaft is about 4mm longer than Duora 10. Additionally, it also has a longer wooden handle. Due to which, when I hold and use it, the racket feels a lot longer than it really is.
Racket Head Shape
The racket head is one of the narrowest I have seen in any racket (width). It has a very small racket head area. Does this decrease the sweet spot area of the racket? Not so much as the Z Force 2. The Horizontal A- Concept grommets of the racket compensates for the loss of racket head area.
The duora grommet which you find at the top is also very interesting. The grommet itself has a thicker box frame and an thinner aero side. The first time I took it out I got confused on how to put it back in, but later realized that the one with the triangular cutouts should be aligned with the backhand side. But honestly, i don’t think it will make much of a difference to the performance of the racket.
So how did this affect my game on court?
I would say the Z strike is a perfect hybrid of the Duora 10 + Voltric Z Force 2. It has the Aero-box frame design of the Duora Series and brings in the solid power and feel of the Z Force 2. It is not as head heavy as the Z Force 2 though.
So now the big question “Can I use it for doubles? Can I use it for singles?”
Well this racket performs very well for a singles player and this is the way Yonex made it.
Clears, Very Good. Smash, solid feel. Net shots, awesome. Defence, good.
The only area where it suffers is the quick shots for courter attacking. For instance, when you try to counter attack an opponent’s flat drive, especially from the backhand side, the racket is a fraction slower in the air. Taufik Hidayat used to execute the cross court counter attack much better with the Arcsaber 10 as it is more evenly balanced. The Duora Z Strike is head heavy compared to Arcsaber 10.
The pressure from the net in a doubles game is much more than that in a singles match. Repeated constant pushes/attacks from the net is a trademark of doubles game. It happens nearly inside every rally, starting off from the service itself. You need to defend two, three, four such attacks to get out of trouble. With the Duora Z Strike, you will be able to return the first one, but you will become slower on the second one. (Which is why the Duora 10 is better in this aspect and a very popular racket both for doubles and singles).
Crouched defence and crouched drives/counter attacks like the ones Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo hits are slower with the Duora Z Strike.
So it is not suggested for doubles.
But you can always go ahead and try it. Many international doubles players (Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen) used the Voltric Z Force 2 when it first came out. But most of them eventually went back to Arcsabers and Nanorays. You might have seen that many doubles players hold the racket up the handle. A longer shaft decreases racket speed. You can use this trick to gain some racket speed when needed.
But if you are a male mixed doubles player, then this racket might turn out good for you. Because the pressure from the net is less and you can get out from trouble by changing the direction of your defence.
Overall, I have been enjoying using this racket. Its a very good racket. It performs really well during singles play. Or even doubles when smashing from the back court. World Champion Viktor Axelsen is using this racket. And it is good racket which you should definitely check out.