Defending champion Rafael Nadal faced an anxious night after rain intervened with him trailing Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in his French Open quarter-final on Wednesday.
Eleventh seed Schwartzman snapped Nadal’s run of winning 37 consecutive completed sets at Roland Garros when he took the opener 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Spaniard Nadal, bidding for an 11th title on the Parisian clay, also trailed by a break in the second set as Schwartzman threatened a huge shock, but after a rain stoppage, Nadal returned to court to move 5-3 ahead in the second set.
Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic. Reuters
Another rain delay sent the players off court and shortly afterwards play was suspended for the day.
They will return at 1000GMT on Thursday.
Nadal had looked imperious on his way to a 12th quarter-final at Roland Garros, but the diminutive Schwartzman played with aggressive intent to rock the claycourt king.
Breaks were swapped twice in the first set before 25-year-old Schwartzman broke the Nadal serve for a third time to lead 5-4. Schwartzman saw two set points come and go but at the third time of asking, after a delay while a spectator was helped out after feeling ill, the Argentine ripped a forehand winner.
When Schwartzman broke in the third game of the second set, the alarm bells were ringing in the Nadal camp and although he quickly levelled he was immediately broken again.
Schwartzman had a point to lead 4-2 but a forehand error allowed Nadal off the hook.
That proved costly as Nadal broke and then repeated the trick to move into a 5-3, 30-15 lead.
There will be much to ponder though for Nadal and coach Carlos Moya as Schwartzman still looked capable of registering a first win against Nadal at the sixth attempt.
The winner will face either Juan Martin del Potro or Marin Cilic, who were locked at 5-5 in a first-set tiebreak.
Top-seeded Simona Halep and No 3 Garbine Muguruza meet on Thursday in the semi-finals, and their contrasting styles will match up with plenty at stake. The winner earns a berth in the final at Roland Garros — plus the No 1 ranking that currently belongs to Halep.
Muguruza leads Halep 3-1 head-to-head, but this is their first Grand Slam matchup.
Here's another key category in which Muguruza has the upper hand: 2-0 in Major championships. Muguruza won the French Open in 2016, then Wimbledon last year.
Halep, meanwhile, has participated in a trio of major finals, losing each. That includes the French Open in 2014 and 2017, and the Australian Open in January.
In addition to Halep vs. Muguruza, the other women's semi-final is the first at the French Open featuring two Americans in 16 years: No 10 Sloane Stephens against No 13 Madison Keys in a rematch of last year's US Open final.
Stephens won that one, as well as the only other match the longtime friends, Fed Cup and Olympic teammates have played against each other.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 23:08:52 IST