Tue, 27 Aug 2013 08:30:00 GMT | By AFP

Nadal, Serena cruise in US Open, rain holds up Federer

Nadal cruised to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over America's Ryan Harrison, while defending women's champion Serena Williams crushed Francesca Schiavone, 6-0, 6-1


Nadal, Serena in US Open cruise, rain holds up Federer (© AP)

New York: US Open favorites Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, with 28 Grand Slam titles between them, cruised into the US Open on Monday but 17-time major winner Roger Federer was thwarted by rain.

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, cruised to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over America's Ryan Harrison to record a 16th win on hard courts this year.

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 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."

Defending women's champion Serena Williams, a four-time winner, needed just an hour to see off Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone, 6-0, 6-1.

The top seed fired 13 winners and broke the former French Open champion six times on her way to a second round match-up against Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva.

"I'm really excited," Williams said. "I knew playing a former Grand Slam champion the first round was a tough draw so I just tried to be super serious."

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 60th 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.

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