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[vector_icon icon=”fas fa-microphone”] Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the US Open
Serena Williams returns to the US Open Semifinals
Tomorrow night, for the 14th time, Serena Williams will enter Arthur Ashe Stadium as a US Open Semifinalist. For the 33rd-time, she will compete in the Final-4 of a Major. Today required every last drop of fuel in the tank. Tsvetana Pironkova’s improbable run to the Quarterfinals — after a 3-year maternity leave — inspired this response from Serena after the match:
If you can birth a baby, you can do anything. We saw that with Tsvetana today. She played unbelievable. I could barely win a match when I came back.Serena Williams
Fact is, Serena was down a set and a break after the first 40-minutes. Pirokova’s variety, particularly the rhythm-disrupting slice forehand, befuddled the 6-time US Open champ. Off balance from the change of pace, all Serena could do was watch as Svetana swatted passing shots with precision.
But this is 23-time Major champion Serena Williams. As she’s done time and again, particularly during this year’s Open, Serena adjusted her game plan. Specifically, she went all-in on Pironkova’s second serve, thrashing unreachable returns. Additionally, she got more of her own first serves in play, diminishing Tsvetana’s dictation of points. By the start of the decider, Williams controled the plot. After an opening break, she never let up, relenting just 2-games the rest of the way.
A cheesy tribute to Tsvetana’s inspiring return from Maternity Leave
P – Precise. Painting lines with tremendous accuracy
I – Indifferent. Unimpressed by her own success, despite three years away
R – Recharged. Unencumbered by recent match history
O – Oblivious. To the pressure of the moment
N – Nothing to lose. Who makes a Major Quarterfinal after three years off?
K – Knife slice. That wicked slice forehand, her trickiest weapon all week
O – Outperforming. With zero pressure, she’s played looser than her opponents
V – Variety. Adept at rhythm disruption, giving her options to deploy her precision
A – Attitude. Completely unabashed by the opponent, or the moment
Head to Head: Fifth meeting between these two players
 Serena Williams -08- (USA) | Quarterfinal Announcer Introduction
On Monday, she earned her 100th victory here in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Today, she’s competing in her 17th US Open Quarterfinal. From Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – 6-time US Open Champion and Olympia’s mom, Serena Williams.
- QF — W | Tsvetana Pironkova -NR- (BUL) | Score: 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
- R4 — W |  Maria Sakkari -22- (GRE) | Score: 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 | RECAP
- R3 — W |  Sloane Stephens -39- (USA) | Score: 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 | RECAP
- R2 — W | Margarita Gasparyan -117- (RUS) | Score: 6-2, 6-4 | RECAP
- R1 — W | Kristie Ahn -96- (USA) | Score: 7-5, 6-3 | RECAP
Tsvetana Pironkova -NR- (BUL) | Quarterfinal Announcer Introduction
Three years ago, she left the sport to start a family. In her first event back on Tour, she is through to her first US Open Quarterfinal. From Bulgaria – Alexander’s mom, Tsvetana Pironkova.
- QF — L |  Serena Williams -08- (USA) | Score: 6-4, 3-6, 2-6
- R4 — W | Alize Cornet -56- (FRA) | Score: 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3
- R3 — W |  Donna Vekic -24- (CRO) | Score: 6-4, 6-1
- R2 — W |  Garbiñe Muguruza -16- (ESP) | Score: 7-5, 6-2
- R1 — W | Liudmila Samsonova -120- (RUS) | Score: 6-2, 6-3
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 stayed home and “socially distanced,” 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 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. Additionally, it created a protective “Bubble” for all tournament participants at nearby hotels and on-site.
Announcer 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.