Slow Start but Promising Finish for Phillip, Ryan Chew in First Match at Tokyo 2020

Photo Credit: BadmintonPhoto

Saturday, 7/24, marked the start of badminton play at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza for Tokyo 2020. For the U.S., men’s doubles pair Phillip and Ryan Chew began with a tough match against the No. 3 seeds Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen from China. 

The Chew brothers had a slow start against the Chinese pair, falling 9-21 in the first set. However, they began to hit their groove in the second set as they traded the lead several times against their opponents and were down only by two going into the interval. Although the pair’s comeback attempt ultimately fell just short, 17-21, they showed great resilience in refusing to let their first set define the match. 

“Hopefully that will carry on for our next two matches playing at the same speed and level,” Ryan said of their promising second set score against the highly-ranked Chinese pair. 

The key to the second match was a dedication to a more aggressive style, something that their grandfather Don Chew has instilled in them. “He likes us to play more attack which we definitely needed in this game especially in the first set,” Phillip explained. “We were behind the bird at all times. We were always catching the bird below the net so we were always having to play kind of up defensively for the most part and he likes to tell us to make sure that we play some blocks.” The change in focus led to almost double their first score and gives plenty of promise for upcoming matches. 

Next up for the U.S. are men’s singles player Timothy Lam facing No. 1 seeded and host country favorite Kento Momota and No. 11 seeded women’s singles player Beiwen Zhang facing Ukraine’s Marija Ulitina. Both are scheduled to play at 6 PM JST (5 AM EDT) on Sunday, 7/25.

To watch NBC’s stream of matches, click here. For Day 1’s results, click here. For a look ahead at Day 2, click here

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Check out the Tokyo 2020 badminton men’s doubles draw here.