Rafael Nadal nudged a career-best hard-court win streak to 16 straight matches as he crushed Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 on Monday in an opening round rout at the US Open.

Nadal achieved his 54th win of the season against just five defeats, taking victory with 28 winners.

“I just played very well, I’m happy the way I was playing,” said Nadal. “I don’t know if it was my best or not, but it was very good because I was able to win.

“I started the tournament with a good win, an important win. The first round is not easy. Conditions out there today were difficult, I’m so happy to be through.”

Evans upsets Nishikori

Roger Federer found his match called of by rain before the start against Grega Zemlja.

Japan’s 11th seed Kei Nishikori became the first upset just a few hours after the start when he lost to British qualifier Dan Evans 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

Nishikori lost in just under two hours, as he dropped serve six times to the number 179, committing 20 unforced errors in defeat.

“It’s not easy to lose the first round in a Grand Slam, but I didn’t play well and he played well,” said Nishikori. “Nothing I could do. I didn’t play well these three weeks, the two (August) Masters.

“I thought I was getting better, but still, the serve wasn’t there and there were a lot of unforced errors that I shouldn’t do.”

French eighth seed Richard Gasquet beat US journeyman Michael Russell 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Australian Bernard Tomic needed almost four hours to fight past Albert Ramos 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, while Nikolay Davydenko went to the limit against Rhyne Williams of the US, 6-3, 4-6, 1-6, 7-5, 6-0.

Serena sinks Schiavone

In women’s play, Serena Williams started her title defence with a 6-0, 6-1 crushing of former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone, with the top seed winning the first ten games, But Williams admitted: “I was nervous before the match, I was really tight.”

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska crushed Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 6-2. Fifth seed Li Na, the former French Open winner, beat Olga Govortsova 6-2, 6-2.

German eighth seed Angelique Kerber defeated Czech Lucie Hradecka 6-1, 6-1; Jelena Jankovic eliminated American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-4. Venus Williams defied her 33 years and fragile fitness to upset Belgian 12th seed Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2.

Australian Open semi-finalist Sloane Stephens need to rally past Mandy Minella 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki started with a win over Vera Dushevina 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

Laura Robson of Britain overcame recent injuries to return to winning form, beating Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino 7-5, 6-0.


Paes and Stepanek in last fourSeptember 4, 2013

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