Rafael Nadal, Williams sisters progress at US Open

Rafael NadalRafael Nadal, of Spain, returns a shot to Ryan Harrison during the first round of the 2013 US Open tennis tournament Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, in New York (AP)

Rafael Nadal made an ominous return to the U.S. Open on Monday while the sister act of Serena and Venus Williams shared the spotlight as the last grand slam of the year got underway.

Roared on by the energetic Flushing Meadows crowds, the trio turned on a masterclass of power hitting at Arthur Ashe Stadium before New York's fickle weather brought proceedings to an early end.

A late rain shower forced tournament organisers to abandon the opening day's play before former world number one Roger Federer was about start his match against Slovenia's Grega Zemlja. Also Read: Rain postpones Federer's match

Nadal, who missed last year's U.S. Open because of a chronic knee problem, demonstrated his intentions to make up for lost time as he demolished American wildcard Ryan Harrison 6-4 6-2 6-2 during the day session. Also Read: Nishikori sets in the far West

Bouncing around the unforgiving hardcourt like a kangaroo, the Spaniard chalked up 28 winners despite the blustery conditions at the U.S. National Tennis Center.

"For me, the chance to be back here playing is great," said Nadal. "The first match after two years in the Arthur Ashe is a great feeling."

Serena needed just one hour to remind everyone why she remains the overwhelming favourite to win the women's title as she demolished Italy's Francesca Schiavone 6-0 6-1.

The American showed no mercy against her opponent, who won the French Open in 2010 and was a finalist in Paris the following year, conceding just 23 points in the 60-minute romp.

"I knew playing a former grand slam champion in the first round was a really tough draw so I decided to be super serious," she said.

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