- Rafael Nadal sits it out as rain hits Barcelona title bid
- Match with French 13th seed Benoit Paire postponed until Friday
- Dmitry Tursunov beaten by Brazil's Thomaz Belluci
- Tursunov had put out top seed David Ferrer in previous round
Rafael Nadal's bid for a eighth Barcelona Open title was held up by the rain in Spain Thursday after the conqueror of top seed David Ferrer made his exit from the clay court tournament.
Second seed Nadal was due to play French 13th seed Benoit Paire in a third round match but never got on court due to persistent drizzle.
It has been rescheduled for Friday but the weather forecast for the Catalan city remains uncertain.
Nadal's passage to another triumph in Barcelona had been helped by the shock defeat of his Spanish counterpart Ferrer to Dmitry Tursonov Wednesday.
But Russia's Tursunov was unable to build on that victory, going down 4-6 6-1 6-3 to talented Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci before the rains intervened.
Other players left sitting it out were third seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, who was due to play home hope Tommy Robredo, fifth seed Milos Raonic of Canada and Japan's sixth seed Kei Nishikori.
But fourth seed Nicolas Almagro was able to progress beating Spanish compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-3 6-4, while Argentine Juan Monaco, seeded seven, dismissed French tenth seed Jeremy Chardy 6-0 7-6.
Nadal, beaten by World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo final Sunday, is using the Barcelona tournament to tune-up for the French Open in Paris next month where he is defending champion and bidding for an eighth crown.
Ferrer's defeat will assist him in his bid to move up the world rankings after a lengthy injury layoff, looking to replace him at No.4 before the second grand slam of the season.
Meanwhile, on the WTA Tour, China's Li Na reached the quarterfinals of the Stuttgart tournament with a straight sets win in her first match of the clay court season.
Li, who reached the final of the Australian Open in January, beat Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-1 6-2 in their second round match.
She will face Petra Kvitova after the Czech star beat home hope Julia Goerges 2-6, 7-6 6-2 in their last 16 clash.
Top seed and French Open champion Maria Sharapova later struggled through against Czech Lucie Safarova, prevailing 6-4, 6-7 6-3 in their second round match and her opener in the defense of the Stuttgart crown.
The event offers a brand-new Porsche sports car, parked at the side of the court, to the title holder come Sunday.