A sparse crowd arrives early on Center Court for the first match of Day Three (Aug. 16), which features one of the more intriguing players on the WTA roster thus far in 2011: Li Na, who reached the finals of the Australian Open and became the first native-born Asian player to capture a Grand Slam title when she won the French Open. Kicking things off here, the tournament was proud to recognize a group of young girls from the Mountain Flowers Chinese Youth Tennis Academy in attendance. Although light, the crowd warmly greeted Li during the player introductions; a sign that the dedicated fans of the game wanted an up close look at her.
Although I missed the morning and afternoon session of Day Three, Brian Taylor snagged a few key photo opportunities. From Center Court, there are shots of the match between Svetlana Kuznetsova versus American qualifier Jill Craybas. The results, with Kuznetsova cruising 6-3, 6-4 into the second round, speak to the stout power of the talented Russian, who happens to be one of the more formidable hitters on the women’s side. Off court, Taylor captured Rafael Nadal during his press conference, where he likely faced questions about the ongoing meteoric rise of Novak Djokovic who is in the midst of a phenomenal run, the likes of which the game hasn’t seen, possibly ever. Will it continue here, or will Rafa or reigning champion Roger Federer (the only player to have beaten Djokovic so far this year) or someone else slow him down before the U.S. Open?