Tokyo 2020 Summer Games stadium announcer Andy Taylor recaps Belinda Bencic’s Gold Medal victory over Marketa Vondrousova. 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.
Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic. Olympic Gold Medalist.
Tonight, Belinda Bencic earned Switzerland’s first tennis Gold Medal since Marc Rosset topped the podium in 1992. She is the first woman from her country ever to capture Olympic Gold in the sport.
It was a tremendous match, packed with punishing rallies and momentum shifts. Both broke serve six times. In the end, despite earning 18 break opportunities, Vondrousova’s stamina started to fade. Her signature chips and drop shots fell short, and Bencic won the final three games to claim history.
But wait, there’s more. Belinda has another shot at Gold tomorrow. She and Viktorija Golubic will face the top two doubles talents in the world, Katerina Siniakova and Brabora Krejcikova. For the first time, both the Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles Finals include opponents from the same countries: Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
Bencic is 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
Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova. Olympic Silver Medalist. Ice water in her veins.
Tonight, Marketa Vondrousova became the first player from her country to earn Olympic Silver in Women’s Singles. Previously, the Czech Republic’s best result: Bronze.
- 2016 Rio: Petra Kvitova
- 1996 Atlanta: Jana Novotna
To put Marketa’s remarkable, improbable Olympic run in context, we need to go back two years. In 2019, she leapt to a career-high ranking of World #14 after reaching the championship match at Roland Garros. Currently the World #42, she had to use a protected ranking from 2019 (#16) to ensure her spot on the Czech Republic’s stacked roster. Had she not, Karolina Muchova would have been the fourth Czech talent in the Olympic Singles draw.
Muchova can rest easy. Marketa realized destiny this week in Tokyo.
- In the opening round, Marketa defeated 16-seed Kiki Bertens, who announced her retirement from the Tour following the Olympics.
- In Round-2, she triumphed over late-entry Mihaela Buzarnescu.
- She then earned one of the biggest victories of her career, knocking-out the World #2 and “Face of Tokyo 2020,” Naomi Osaka.
- In the Quarterfinals, she skated past Spain’s Paula Badosa, who was forced to retire due to heat exhaustion.
- And finally, she dominated World #6 Elina Svitolina to guarantee herself a medal.
Behind five wins, including two top-10 victories, Marketa Vondrousova’s protected ranking “box-out” paid off, in spades.
Second meeting. Another deciding-set clash on hardcourt. This time for Olympic Gold.
Belinda and Marketa first faced-off earlier this Spring in Miami’s 3rd-Round. Like tonight, their divergent styles clashed brilliantly. Belinda won the first set, but Marketa won the match. Tonight, Belinda won the first set again, disappeared in the second, then outlasted Marketa in the decider despite pain in her right foot.
All the pressure was on Bencic for most of the match. Vondrousova earned 18 break opportunities, converting 6. Bencic also converted 6, behind 10 break chances. Gutsy win for Olympic glory.
Match context: 16th Women’s Singles Championship of the Olympic Games
Competing in their first Olympic Games, both of these top talents have earned five consecutive victories this week in Tokyo. Tonight, they compete for Gold and the enduring title: Olympic Champion.
 Belinda Bencic -12- (SUI) | Gold Medal Announcer Introduction
A Semifinalist at the 2019 US Open, this 24-year-old owns 4 WTA Singles titles and has been ranked as high as World #4. And this week in Tokyo – is one she’ll cherish forever. Tonight, she goes for Gold in Singles. Tomorrow, she’ll compete for Olympic Gold in Doubles – and is now one of only five players since 1988 to reach two Finals at the same Olympic Games. Representing Switzerland, Belinda Bencic.
- FF — W — Marketa Vondrousova -42- (CZE) | Score: 7-5, 2-6, 6-3
- SF — W —  Elena Rybakina -20- (KAZ) | Score: 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3 | RECAP
- 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
Marketa Vondrousova -42- (CZE) | Gold Medal Announcer Introduction
At 22-years-old, she is a Roland Garros Finalist and has been ranked as high as World #14. Here in Tokyo, she upset two top-10 talents to reach tonight’s championship match, including World #2 Naomi Osaka and World #6 Elina Svitolina. Tonight, she becomes the first woman from her country ever to compete for Singles Gold at the Olympic Games. Representing the Czech Republic, Marketa Vondrousova.
- FF — L —  Belinda Bencic -12- (SUI) | Score: 5-7, 6-2, 3-6
- SF — W —  Elina Svitolina -06- (UKR) | Score: 6-3, 6-1 | RECAP
- QF — W — Paula Badosa -29- (ESP) | Score: 6-3 RET (Heat) | COURT-4
- R3 — W —  Naomi Osaka -02- (JPN) | Score: 6-1, 6-4 | RECAP
- R2 — W — Mihaela Buzarnescu -168- (ROU) | Score: 6-1, 6-2 | COURT-6
- R1 — W —  Kiki Bertens -21- (NED) | Score: 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 | 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.