Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the US Open
Serena Williams returns to the Quarterfinals
Many of the suites in Arthur Ashe Stadium were full for Day-8’s first 4th-Round match, as fellow players took full advantage of the unique chance to watch (in-person) a Serena match at a Major. Typically, with sold out sessions, players have to watch each other perform like most fans – on television. Tennis’ first Pandemic Slam has changed that.
What her colleagues experienced was vintage Serena Williams — top-shelf athleticism, raw intensity, dramatic twists…and an equally breathtaking performance from an insanely talented opponent. The second and third sets provided all the thrills, chills and plot twists that would’ve blown the roof off this place.
SET-2: Serving to stay in it, Serena saved a pair of set-points to force the tiebreak – but immediately fell behind 0-4. Tension. Clearly pissed at herself, Serena ripped a backhand pass return, uncorked a primal scream, and crushed an ace to put a pair of points on the board. In the end, Serena saved five set-points – but couldn’t keep the fearlessly tenacious Sakkari from extending the match.
SET-3: Sakkari broke Williams in the opening game. Not to worry, Serena righted the ship after the changeover. At 3-all, Serena Williams had enough. Every serve had something extra on it. Her returns could have shattered glass. She broke to go up 5-3, then served it out to reach her 53rd career Grand Slam Quarterfinal, 17th at the US Open.
Today’s victory marks Serena’s 100th win in Arthur Ashe Stadium. An absolute shame she couldn’t share it with US Open fans in person. Wear a mask.
Head to Head: Second meeting between these two players
Last week, Serena Williams and Maria Sakkari met for the first time at the “New York Bubble” Western & Southern Open. In complete control of the match – up a set and a break – Serena inexplicably imploded. She failed to serve-out the match, then squandered a 4-1 lead in set-2’s tiebreak. Losing that set rattled the 23-time Major Champion, and she won only a single game the rest of the way.
 Serena Williams -08- (USA) | Round-4 Announcer Introduction
With 23 Majors, she owns more Grand Slam Singles titles than any other active player – man or woman. From Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – 10-time Finalist and 6-time US Open Champion, Serena Williams.
- R4 — W |  Maria Sakkari -22- (GRE) | Score: 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3
- 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
 Maria Sakkari -22- (GRE) | Round-4 Announcer Introduction
In January, she reached the 4th Round of a Major for the first time at the Australian Open and climbed to a career-high ranking of World #20. From Greece, Maria Sakkari.
- R4 — L |  Serena Williams -08- (USA) | Score: 3-6 7-6(6), 6-3
- R3 — W |  Amanda Anisimova -28- (USA) | Score: 6-3, 6-1
- R2 — W | Bernarda Pera -61- (USA) | Score: 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
- R1 — W | Stefanie Vögele -114- (SUI) | Score: 6-3, 3-6, 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.
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.