Quarterfinal. Osaka def Rogers

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

Naomi Osaka advances to third Major Semifinal

The last time these two played, Naomi was a 19-year-old rising star consistently frustrating top-50 talent. Shelby had just knocked World #4 Simona Halep out of the 2017 Australian Open. They were in Charleston, Shelby’s home event. The day prior, Shelby eliminated the top-seed Madison Keys, and had little trouble with the teenager in the Round of 16 — soundly defeating Osaka 6-4, 6-2.

Since then, Naomi Osaka has won two Majors and claimed the sport’s top ranking. She’s an international sensation, using her influence to raise awareness of social injustice. To put it mildly: Lightning struck.

Meanwhile, Shelby blew-out her knee. Following surgery, she missed nearly all of the 2018 season. Since her Wild Card return at the 2019 event in Charleston, she’s put-in the work and battled back into the top-100. Sunday’s victory over World #12 Petra Kvitova – saving four match points, earning the win in a deciding set tiebreak – affirmed her resurgence.

Time marches on

The point is: Both are completely different humans – let alone athletes – than they were three years ago. Coming into tonight’s Quarterfinal, their head-to-head record was irrelevant…but not to Naomi. Before the match, in Osaka’s eyes, Shelby was the better player. Somehow, despite all her success since capturing 2018 US Open title, Naomi still felt like the underdog.

  • A pair of ITF losses to Rogers when Naomi was 15 and 17
  • The straight-sets thrashing at Charleston when she was 19.

Osaka played like she had something to prove to herself — that she could overcome Shelby Rogers. Which she did, in straight sets. Next up, another American playing outstanding tennis, Jennifer Brady.

6-years-ago, Naomi lost to Jenn, too – when Osaka was just 16 years old. That said, Naomi won their last encounter two years back in Charleston. Perhaps there’s not as much to prove in the Semifinals, but be warned — Brady will be a tougher test. She hasn’t lost a set in all five of her victories. Focused, consistent, rested, and getting every ball back — Jennifer Brady will make Osaka work to reach her third Grand Slam Final.

Announcer Andy Taylor. 2020 US Open. Quarterfinal Naomi Osaka Match Recap

Head to Head: Fourth meeting between these two players

Announcer Andy Taylor. 2020 US Open. Quarterfinal Naomi Osaka Head to Head

[4] Naomi Osaka -09- (JPN) | Quarterfinal Announcer Introduction

A 2-time Grand Slam Champion, she captured her first Major Singles title right here in Arthur Ashe Stadium two years ago. 4-months later, she won the Australian Open and claimed the World #1 ranking – From Japan, Naomi Osaka.

  • QF — W | Shelby Rogers -93- (USA) | Score:
  • R4 — W | [14] Anett Kontaveit -21- (EST) | Score: 6-3, 6-4 | RECAP
  • R3 — W | Marta Kostyuk -137- (UKR) | Score: 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2 | RECAP
  • R2 — W | Camila Giorgi -74- (ITA) | Score: 6-1, 6-2 | RECAP
  • R1 — W | Misaki Doi -81- (JPN) | Score: 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 | RECAP
Shelby Rogers -93- (USA) | Quarterfinal Announcer Introduction

A Quarterfinalist at Roland Garros 4-years-ago – on Sunday, she upset World #12 Petra Kvitova in a deciding-set tiebreak, and is through to the Final-8 of the US Open for the first time. From Charleston, South Carolina – Shelby Rogers.

  • QF — L | [4] Naomi Osaka -09- (JPN) | Score:
  • R4 — W | [6] Petra Kvitova -12- (CZE) | Score: 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(8)
  • R3 — W | Madison Brengle -84- (USA) | Score: 6-2, 6-4
  • R2 — W | [11] Elena Rybakina -17- (KAZ) | Score: 7-5, 6-1
  • R1 — W | Irina Khromacheva -170- (RUS) | Score: 6-2, 6-2

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.