French Open | Nadal facing uphill struggle
Defending champion Rafael Nadal will resume his quarter-final match with Diego Schwartzman on Court Philipp Chatrier at 10.00 am GMT having, no doubt, had a troublesome night wondering how to deal with the diminutive Argentine Dervish nicknamed ‘El Peque’ which basically means ‘Shortie’, a set up when rain suspended all matches on Wednesday.
Nadal found difficulty in dealing with the aggressive play emanating from his opponent’s racket as his consecutive run of sets won at Roland Garros was snapped at 37, four short of the record set by Bjorn Borg.
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 then saw two set points come and go but at the third time of asking, following a delay while a spectator was helped out after feeling ill, the Argentine ripped a forehand winner to take the set 6-4.
Nadal, who had been in imperious form in all his previous matches, looked perplexed as he couldn’t find an answer. The alarm bells must have rung in his camp when Schwartzman broke early in the second to go 3-1 up. But then the rains came bring to a halt the Argentine’s momentum.
However, the defending champion struck back immediately on their return and snatched to take over control and go into a 5-3 lead when a second break was enforced by another downpour, this time bringing all action to a close for the day.
The winner will face either Juan Martin del Potro or Marin Cilic, who were locked at 5-5 in a first-set tiebreak on Court Suzanne Lenglen.