Rafa Nadal into French Open quarters without dropping a set

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal French Open

But the 16-time major victor looked in danger of being beaten there for only the third time in his career, trailing a set and break on Wednesday to an opponent who had never previously been beyond the last 32.

In the other men's quarter-final, Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic were locked at 5-5 in a first-set tiebreaker.

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

Schwartzman started the match aggressively, hitting 20 winners as he became the first player to take a set off Nadal in Paris since 2015.

That victory secured a 16th grand slam title and, on current form, it would take a fearless person to bet against Nadal making it 17 in the French capital.

The Spanish third seed, who was the champion in Paris in 2016, swept aside the Russian 6-2, 6-1 in just an hour and 10 minutes.

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But play was stopped with Nadal at 5-3, 30-15.

On Thursday, it was rarely used as effectively.

The 31-year-old has only lost two matches in his career at the tournament and he used his relentless aggression from the baseline to wear down the determination of Schwartzman to secure a further two breaks to move within a game of the last four.

Nadal broke back, yeah, sure, but then Schwartzman broke again, with an outrageous return that dove down inside the baseline and helped arrange a blasted forehand victor into the corner.

Play will resume on Thursday, with both matches finely poised.

Nadal was soon back on serve when it was Marterer's turn to double fault and after saving two break points in game five, the Spaniard carried his momentum into the next with a break to love and a 4-2 advantage courtesy of a fine inside-out forehand.

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