After 10 days of clear weather, rain and winds swept through Flushing Meadows on Thursday, tossing the US Open's final weekend into disarray and stranding Rafael Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez in the midst of their quarterfinal.
For the second year running, Nadal faces the prospect of playing a string of successive days at the year's last major if he is to win the only Grand Slam missing from his collection.
Nadal was leading Gonzalez 7-6, 6-6 with the Chilean serving at 2-3 in the tiebreak when a second shower burst halted Day 11 proceedings at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The eventual winner will meet Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who beat Croatian 16th seed Marin Cilic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.
Nadal and Gonzalez will resume their battle on Friday following the first women's semifinal pitting champion Serena Williams against Kim Clijsters.
A year after Nadal's semi-final against eventual runner-up Andy Murray spilled into a second day because of the remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna, the Spaniard again ran into foul weather. Nadal, his groundstroke drives piercing through the swirling winds, lost just one point on his serve until the 11th game when he had to fend off two set points to stretch it into a tiebreaker.
After winning the tiebreak 7-4, Nadal took timeout to have a trainer treat his strained abdominal muscle before beginning the second set.
They managed to play only four more games when a cold drizzle forced the first interruption of the match.
"In the first set it (the abdominal strain) was very very bad," Nadal's uncle and coach Toni Nadal said.
Seventy-five minutes later they returned. Nadal was on the verge of clinching the second set in the 10th game. Gonzalez saved two set points with service winners, but the Spaniard appeared ready to pounce on his third when flying debris caused the umpire to halt play in mid-point.
Meanwhile, Del Potro was already celebrating his second Grand Slam semifinal of the year. Fighting back after losing the first set and trailing 3-1 in the second, the Argentine induced Cilic into a flood of groundstroke errors.