Round 1. Pliskova def Kalinina

Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the US Open

Karolina Pliskova advances to Round-2

Two years ago, Anhelina Kalinina stretched defending US Open champion Sloane Stephens to 3-sets on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Today, Anhelina broke the World #3 out of the gate, but completely faded after giving-up the first set behind a love service game.

Karolina Pliskova has been training in New York’s “US Open Bubble” for two weeks. While she fell early to Veronika Kudermetova during last week’s transplanted Western & Southern Open, today she found her rhythm late in the first: Winning 8 consecutive games to reach Round-2.

A Finalist here four years ago, Pliskova is this year’s top seed. Without question, concern over the U.S. coronavirus case-count decimated the draw. Three of the WTA’s top-5 talents elected to avoid stateside travel, including World #1 Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina. However, with 2018 champion Naomi Osaka in Pliskova’s half, six-time winner Serena Williams potentially waiting in the Final — not to mention, the unusual experience of fan-less matches — lifting her first Major trophy here in New York is not a given.

Announcer Andy Taylor. 2020 US Open. Round 1 Karolina Pliskova Match Recap

Head to Head: First meeting between these two players

Announcer Andy Taylor. 2020 US Open. Round 1 Karolina Pliskova Head to Head

[1] Karolina Pliskova -03- (CZE) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction

She won her 16th WTA Singles title week-1 of the season in Brisbane. And 4-years-ago, reached her first Grand Slam Final right here at the US Open. From the Czech Republic, this year’s top-seed and World #3, Karolina Pliskova.

  • R1 — W | Anhelina Kalinina -145- (UKR) | Score: 6-4, 6-0
Anhelina Kalinina -145- (UKR) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction

She owns 10 ITF Womens Circuit Singles titles. And two years ago, won her first Grand Slam main-draw match right here at the US Open. From Ukraine, Anhelina Kalinina.

  • R1 — L | [1] Karolina Pliskova -03- (CZE) | Score: 4-6, 0-6

A New Reality | 2020 US Open Tennis Championships

In late February and early March, announcer Andy Taylor compèred two of the final professional tennis events before the global coronavirus pandemic put the skids on the 2020 season. In Doha, he hosted Aryna Sabalenka’s relentless run to the Qatar Total Open title. Then in Honolulu, he emceed Team USA’s Davis Cup Qualifier victory over Uzbekistan. Including Bob and Mike Bryan’s final professional match.

As U.S. coronavirus cases continued to mount, the day following Team USA’s 4-0 victory, all professional sports came to a grinding halt. Over the next five months, as Americans were asked to stay home and “socially distance,” nearly 6-million contracted the illness. Tragically, over 180-thousand perished. Worldwide, COVID-19 killed over 840-thousand and sickened 25-million (at the time of this writing).

New York hosts the resumption of the 2020 tennis season

Early on, New York City was the epicenter of COVID’s outbreak. The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center became prime real estate for New York’s coordinated pandemic response. Additionally, the state used Louis Armstrong Stadium as a warehouse to pack meals for patients, front-line workers and students dependent on the city’s school lunch program.

In late July, after New York “flattened the curve,” Governor Cuomo green-lighted the USTA’s plans to resume the 2020 tennis season in Flushing. Without fans. Without qualifying. Rather, the Western & Southern Open was moved from Cincinnati to the grounds of the US Open. Furthermore, the USTA implemented strict COVID-19 testing policies. It limited the number in each player’s entourage. And it created a protective “Bubble” for all tournament participants at nearby hotels and on-site.

Andy Taylor | 19th US Open Tennis Championships

After a five month pause, with the coronavirus “politicized” and still spreading unchecked through portions of the population, Andy was hesitant when asked to be a part of the sport’s return. However, after carefully considering the USTA’s extensive health and safety protocols, he soon realized the US Open could in fact be one of the safest environments to avoid COVID’s spread.

Masks are mandatory. For crew, testing occurs every fourth day. To ensure best broadcast quality, the USTA understood that Arthur Ashe Stadium’s announcer would need to work without a mask. Therefore, they isolated Andy in his own booth. Thus, keeping production team members free from aerosols emitted during player introductions.

Rather than fly, Andy drove to Flushing. He uses his own vehicle to shuttle back and forth from the hotel to the venue, which limits his exposure to others. Additionally, this allowed Andy to bring his own hot plate and coffee machine, completely eliminating the need for others to bring him meals and supplies. Essentially, the Voice of the US Open is working from a bubble within “The Bubble.” Responsibly limiting contact with colleagues and players as much as humanly possible.

A new Grand Slam Global Pandemic Presentation

With the global emphasis on social distancing to avoid further outbreaks of COVID-19, the world of sport production is reinventing “the show” by harnessing new technologies that have emerged over the past decade. As always, the core goal is to meet fans where they are.

In other words, with fans exclusively watching on television – or on-the-go through mobile devices – the 2020 US Open “stadium show” is now geared toward the camera, rather than the ticket holder. This year, Andy and the stadium production team are working closely with ESPN to integrate the broadcast and stadium presentations. Instead of narrating player introductions exclusively for fans on site, intros and all aspects of the stadium show are now part of the broadcast product streamed to fans worldwide.

The true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention.

Jowett | English translation of Plato’s “Republic”

Live sport presentation is a brave new world. Through perseverance and bold experimentation, the US Open continues to innovate; determined to feed each tennis fan’s hunger after five months of the world’s new and humbling collective-reality.