Paris, June 7: Normal service was resumed as Rafael Nadal survived a scare to ultimately ease past Diego Schwartzman and reach his 11th French Open semi-final on Thursday.
An inspired Schwartzman ended the world number one's run of 37 consecutive sets won at Roland Garros and was a break up in the second when rain halted play for the first time on Wednesday.
Nadal came out firing following a short interval to lead 5-3 before play was suspended on a dismal night in Paris and the top seed returned to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 under blue skies the following afternoon.
He set up a semi-final with Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, who ended Marin Cilic's run 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.
"Of course the love from you guys, you make me feel so happy. I'm so proud to be here playing in front of you, I feel at home here. You make me feel so happy, so merci beaucoup."@delpotrojuan #RG18 pic.twitter.com/I9pkgt9jlx— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 7, 2018
The 10-time French Open champion was much more like his usual self, showing no signs of being troubled after having both wrists taped following the opening set in a lacklustre performance the previous day.
Nadal struck 34 winners and Schwartzman racked up 64 unforced errors as the 'King of Clay' joined Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer in becoming the only men to reach 11 semi-finals in the same major in the Open Era.
Nadal needed just the two points to level the match when play resumed, a pair of errant backhands pegging Schwartzman back, and the 11th seed crashed a forehand into the net to go a break down in the first game of the third set.
The Nadal serve let him down on Wednesday, but it was much more potent as he consolidated that early break and piled the pressure on a struggling Schwartzman.
Less than 24 hours after he had peppered Nadal with rasping forehands, the underdog was off the pace and fell a double-break down at 4-1 following an exquisite drop shot from his opponent.
Nadal had the crowd purring when he fired a backhand winner down the line and punched the air after showing incredible defensive skills to save one of four break points, before Schwartzman thrashed a forehand long to go a set down.
Another Schwartzman unforced error gave Nadal an early break in the fourth and the former missed a simple overhead volley at the net that would have given him two break points.
Schwartzman showed flashes of the brilliance he showed in the first set and early in the second, but Nadal saved three break points with majestic winners and held to move into the last four yet again.
STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN Nadal bt Schwartzman 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2
WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS Nadal – 34/46 Schwartzman – 37/64
ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS Nadal – 1/3 Schwartzman – 1/3
BREAK POINTS WON Nadal – 9/18 Schwartzman – 5/20
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE Nadal – 57 Schwartzman – 58
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE Nadal – 60/54 Schwartzman – 55/36
TOTAL POINTS Nadal – 137 Schwartzman – 110