Rafael Nadal of Spain hits the ball against Ryan Harrison of the US during their 2013 US Open men’s singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, yesterday.
NEW YORK CITY: Second seed Rafael Nadal eased into the US Open second round yesterday with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over American wildcard Ryan Harrison.
Elsewhere, British qualifier Daniel Evans stunned 12th seeded Kei Nishikori as Venus Williams celebrated her 60th major by sporting bright purple hair and a striking triumph to match.
As the first day of the final Grand Slam of the season got underway at Flushing Meadows, world number 179 Evans, making his debut after coming through qualifying, swept past Nishikori, 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.
Yeserday’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.”
Venus Williams, the back-to-back champion in 2000 and 2001 and the second oldest woman in the draw at 33, started her 60th Grand Slam and 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, faces either China’s Zheng Jie or Kiki Bertens 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.
The American improved to 15-0 in US Open openers by beating Flipkens.
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.