Rafael Nadal trails Diego Schwartzman before rain ends play at French Open

Rafael Nadal trails Diego Schwartzman before rain ends play at French Open

A rain delay before the 11th seed could cement the break would turn the set on its head - and after a half-hour break, Nadal won three games in a row, only interrupted when the poor weather returned with the top seed two points from levelling the match.

Schwartzman's supporters will be hoping he won't be too exhausted from his heroic five-set win over the giant South African Kevin Anderson on Monday and has the self-belief to overcome a 0-5 head-to-head record against Nadal.

Nadal and Schwartzman will resume their enthralling last-eight match at 12:00 local time on Thursday, with the 25-year-old Argentine seeking to become only the third player ever to beat Nadal at Roland Garros.

The victor will face either Juan Martin del Potro or Marin Cilic, who were locked at 5-5 in a first-set tiebreak.

Nadal had won 37 consecutive sets at Roland Garros since his 2015 quarter-final defeat by Novak Djokovic but dropped serve three times to the enterprising Schwartzman in an exciting opener.

Nadal made 14 unforced errors and struck just four winners in a poor first set, before having both of his wrists strapped by the trainer.

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Nadal was far from his usual impeccable self on red clay, too.

Up until then, the Spaniard was well below par, losing the first set 6-3 to the diminutive Schwartzman.

More important than that, of course, is the match's ultimate outcome, and a significant moment came with Schwartzman serving while up 3-2 in the second after the initial delay.

Nadal, returning with his famed forehand finally firing on all cylinders, earned back-to-back breaks to move within a hold of the set.

Though Nadal hit back to level for 2-2, the plucky Argentinian broke again with a thumping forehand to regain control.