Tennis: Nadal sweeps through, Venus hits 60 in purple haze

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, gestures to fans after defeating Ryan Harrison during the first round of the 2013 US Open tennis tournament, on Monday, Aug 26, 2013, in New York. Nadal took his 2013 hardcourt record to 16-0 on Monday as he swept into the US
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, gestures to fans after defeating Ryan Harrison during the first round of the 2013 US Open tennis tournament, on Monday, Aug 26, 2013, in New York. Nadal took his 2013 hardcourt record to 16-0 on Monday as he swept into the US Open second round while Venus Williams celebrated her 60th major with purple hair and an equally striking win. -- PHOTO: AP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Rafael Nadal took his 2013 hardcourt record to 16-0 on Monday as he swept into the US Open second round while Venus Williams celebrated her 60th major with purple hair and an equally striking win.

Nadal, the second seeded 2010 champion who watched the 2012 US Open from his home in Spain as he endured a seven-month injury layoff, breezed to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over American wildcard Ryan Harrison.

The 27-year-old Spaniard has captured nine trophies since his return from injury in February, building up a 54-3 record in the process, and he came into New York having won back-to-back Masters titles at Montreal and Cincinnati, comfortably erasing his shock first-round exit at Wimbledon.

"It's a special emotion to be back in New York. It's a special atmosphere," said Nadal, who next tackles either Canada's Vasek Pospisil or Brazilian qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva.

"I was nervous before the start, but I hope to have these nerves again in the future if it means I win." Venus Williams, the back-to-back champion in 2000 and 2001 and the oldest woman left in the draw at 33, started her 15th US Open with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Belgian 12th seed Kirsten Flipkens, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon.

Williams, now ranked 60 in the world, next faces China's Zheng Jie after avenging a loss to Flipkens at Toronto earlier this month.

"It's just good to be here, see familiar faces since my first time in 1997 with the beads and the braces," said Williams, after firing 21 winners and who dyed her hair purple for the occasion.

The American improved to 15-0 in US Open openers by beating Flipkens.

British qualifier Daniel Evans, the world number 179, stunned Japanese 11th seed Kei Nishikori, the biggest casualty of the opening day, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

Nishikori, who made the third round last year, committed 38 unforced errors.

The 23-year-old Evans had never won a main draw match at the Grand Slams until Monday and his reward is a second-round clash against Australia's Bernard Tomic, who needed five sets to see off Albert Ramos of Spain.

Monday's win guaranteed Evans at least $53,000 - $10,000 more than he's made in all of 2013 so far.

"I really want to be top 100, so that's when the money will start to come in, is when I'm top 100 consistently," said Evans.

"It is an added bonus. But it would be a bit strange if I was just thinking about the money after I've just beat the 11th seed." Nishikori admitted the Briton was able to play risk-free.

"He had no pressure and I was tight," said the Asian number one. "I haven't played well these last three weeks but I thought it was getting better." Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who has never got beyond the last-16, eased past Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 6-2 and next faces another Spaniard, Maria Teresa Torro-Flor.

Chinese fifth seed Li Na also reached the second round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus.

Li, a quarter-finalist in 2009, next plays Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden.

Britain's Laura Robson, the first British woman to be seeded at a major for 26 years, won nine games in succession to beat Spanish veteran Lourdes Dominguez Lino, 7-5, 6-0.

The 30th seed, who ended Kim Clijsters' career in New York 12 months ago on her way to the last 16, next faces France's Caroline Garcia.

"I think I played really well here last year but this is only the second round. There's a long way to go," said the 19-year-old Robson, who had lost both her previous meetings with Dominguez Lino.

Later Monday, Roger Federer, the former five-time champion and seeded a lowly seventh this year, takes on Slovenia's Grega Zemjla.

Defending women's champion Serena Williams, a four-time winner, kicks off the evening action against Francesca Schiavone, the former French Open winner from Italy.

As well as tennis A-listers, the tournament will also welcome rock royalty with Lenny Kravitz, the Grammy Award winner, one of the warm-up acts at the opening ceremony which also features Oscar-winning actors Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding.

Meanwhile, 12 months after 2003 champion Andy Roddick quit the sport, another US veteran, James Blake, announced his retirement on Monday.

The 33-year-old, who reached as high as four in the world back in 2006 but now stands at 100, won 10 tour titles and made the US Open quarter-finals the same year.