Tokyo 2020 Summer Games stadium announcer Andy Taylor recaps Belinda Bencic’s marathon, Semifinal victory over Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina. In Japan, the live narration includes two voices: Japanese announcer DJ Ketchup and English announcer Andy Taylor. Together, they cover the presentation on Center Court, while additional Japanese and English speaking announcers cover Courts 1 and 2 at Ariake Tennis Park.
Belinda Bencic guaranteed a medal in her Olympic debut
Behind five match victories this week, Bencic will now compete for Olympic Gold. In addition – later tonight – she’ll also play for a spot in the Women’s Doubles Gold Medal match. Belinda and partner Viktorija Golubic face surprise Brazilians Luisa Stefani and Laura Pigossi over on Court-3. With a victory, Bencic will become only the fifth player to reach both the Singles and Doubles Gold Medal matches at the same Olympic Games since tennis’ return in 1988:
- Venus Williams / 2000 Sydney
- Nicolas Massu / 2004 Athens
- Serena Williams / 2012 London
- Andy Murray / 2012 London
First meeting. Impressive poise from Bencic down the stretch, with everything on the line.
 Belinda Bencic -12- (SUI) | Semifinal Announcer Introduction
A Semifinalist at the 2019 US Open, this 24-year-old owns 4 WTA Singles titles, is a 12-time Finalist, and has been ranked as high as World #4. Through to the Semifinals in her Olympic debut, she earned deciding-set victories over French Open champion Barbora Kejcikova and French Open Finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to give herself this chance to capture an Olympic medal for her country. Representing Switzerland, Belinda Bencic.
- SF — W —  Elena Rybakina -20- (KAZ) | Score: 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3
- QF — W —  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova -18- (ROC) | Score: 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 | RECAP
- R3 — W —  Barbora Krejcikova -11- (CZE) | Score: 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 | COURT-2
- R2 — W — Misaki Doi -94- (JPN) | Score: 6-2, 6-4 | COURT-1
- R1 — W — Jessica Pegula -27- (USA) | Score: 6-3, 6-3 | COURT-1
 Elena Rybakina -20- (KAZ) | Semifinal Announcer Introduction
Last month at Roland Garros, this 22-year-old defeated Serena Williams to reach her first Grand Slam Quarterfinal. She owns 2 WTA Singles titles – and in 2020, climbed to a career-high ranking of World #17 after reaching 4 consecutive WTA Tour-level Finals in the first 2-months of the season. Competing in her first Olympic Games, yesterday she earned her 7th career top-10 victory – defeating Garbiñe Muguruza to reach today’s Semifinal match. Representing Kazakhstan, Elena Rybakina.
- SF — L —  Belinda Bencic -12- (SUI) | Score: 6-7(2), 6-4, 3-6
- QF — W — Garbiñe Muguruza -09- (ESP) | Score: 7-5, 6-1 | COURT-2
- R3 — W — Donna Vekic -50- (CRO) | Score: 7-6(3), 6-4 | COURT-1
- R2 — W — Rebecca Peterson -56- (SWE) | Score: 6-2, 6-3 | COURT-4
- R1 — W — Sam Stosur -186- (AUS) | Score: 6-4, 6-2 | COURT-2
SUMMER GAMES | Women’s Singles Medalists
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Amid COVID concern, the Games go on
Postponed for a year due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games finally launched on Friday, 23 July 2021. After 18-months of lockdowns, desperately trying to contain COVID’s insidious spread, the world finally developed effective vaccines. Sadly, though, 4-million lost their lives, while over 193-million contracted the virus. And Tokyo’s case count was on the rise.
But thanks to science and nearly 2-years of experience, organizers understood that it was entirely possible to responsibly stage the Summer Games without creating a super-spreader event. No fans allowed. Tickets revoked. All international visitors barred from the country – unless competing or working.
From the athlete, to the volunteer, to the Japanese announcer and English announcer — everyone involved with the Games exercised the procedures and protocols painstakingly learned through 18-months of uncertainty and despair. Quarantines. Life in bubbles. Regular hand-hygiene. Masks. Limited long-term indoor exposure to others. And of course, social distancing. But above all else: Most of the Tokyo 2020 team was vaccinated.
Come hell or high water, the Summer Games would go on.
Naomi Osaka ignites the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Cauldron
On a more positive note, one of the most distinguished honors in all of sport is to light the Olympic cauldron. Any American over 40 remembers the emotional moment in 1996 when Muhammed Ali courageously climbed the steps to light the flame in Atlanta. His body ravaged by Parkinson’s disease. That singular moment creates indelible memories.
This year, the Japanese Olympic Committee secretly bestowed the honor to 23-year-old Naomi Osaka. Originally scheduled to play the first match on Center Court Saturday morning, it was unusual on Friday to hear that her match had been moved to Sunday. Nothing further was said.
Then, at the conclusion of a subdued, yet deeply respectful opening ceremony and parade of nations – it was Naomi Osaka who climbed the steps and torched the flame that brightly burned over the Games of the 32nd Olympiad. Obviously, it was a humbling honor not lost on the 4-time Grand Slam Champion, who was making her Olympic debut.
Well represented during the parade of nations, tennis players Petra Kvitova (CZE), Jelena Ostapenko (LAT), and Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) all served as flag-bearers.
Tennis at the Summer Games
One of the premier sports featured during the Games’ initial revival, tennis still has a contentious history with the Summer Games. It fell off the radar after 1924, mainly due to conflicts between the International Lawn Tennis Federation and the IOC. The two major obstacles:
- Allowing professionals to compete in a global showcase for amature athletics.
- Scheduling. With the Summer Games so close to the conclusion of the Wimbledon Championships, the ILTF and the IOC were in direct competition for tournament participation by the sport’s top-athletes.
After a 60 year absence, tennis and the IOC worked out their differences, and the sport returned as an official event during the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. Now under the guidance of the International Tennis Federation, professionals proudly represent their home nations.