Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the US Open
Sofia Kenin advances to Round-3
Three years ago, Sofia Kenin made her Arthur Ashe Stadium debut as an 18-year-old Wild card ranked outside the top-100. Through to the 3rd-Round of a Major for the first time, she won her first two career Grand Slam main-draw matches over fellow Americans Lauren Davis and Sachia Vickery. Her opponent in the 3rd-Round: 2006 US Open Champion Maria Sharapova.
Back in 2005, at just 18-years-old, Maria became the sport’s top-player for the first time. A year later, she won the US Open. Friday night, Maria saw that younger version of herself across the net. Like Sharapova, 18-year-old Sofia Kenin was born in Russia and trains in Florida. She’s an aggressive baseliner with a steely stare, and is deeply competitive…
1 September 2017 | Match Recap from the Voice of the US Open
Now 21, Sofia Kenin has come a long way in just 36-months. She’s a top-5 player, a Grand Slam Champion, and owns 5 WTA Singles titles. In fact, she won her 5th title in early March, just as the coronavirus pandemic brought every professional sport to a screeching halt.
After today’s win over 17-year-old Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez, Kenin admitted the past 5 months derailed her momentum. When she entered the “US Open Bubble” two weeks ago, she felt flat and under-prepared. During last week’s Western & Southern Open, she lost her opening match to World #60 Alize Cornet.
That said, behind two convincing wins to start her 2020 campaign, the reigning Australian Open champ is rediscovering her rhythm. Should she overcome the wildly talented Ons Jabeur on Saturday, she’ll reach the US Open’s 4th Round for the first time.
Head to Head: First meeting between these two players
 Sofia Kenin -04- (USA) | Round-2 Announcer Introduction
The reigning Australian Open Champion – In January, she defeated World #1 Ashliegh Barty then Garbine Muguruza to capture her first Grand Slam singles title. From Pembroke Pines, Florida – World #4 Sofia Kenin.
- R2 — W | Leylah Annie Fernandez -104- (CAN) | Score: 6-4, 6-3
- R1 — W | Yanina Wickmayer -91- (BEL) | Score: 6-2, 6-2
Leylah Annie Fernandez -104- (CAN) | Round-2 Announcer Introduction
Just 17-years-old – on Tuesday, she defeated 2010 US Open Finalist Vera Zvonareva to reach the 2nd-Round of a Grand Slam for the first time. Making her Arthur Ashe Stadium debut, from Canada – Leylah Annie Fernandez.
- R1 — L |  Sofia Kenin -04- (USA) | Score: 4-6, 3-6
- R1 — W | Vera Zvonareva -86- (RUS) | Score: 6-4, 7-5
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.
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.