Rafael Nadal into the net as he plays Jo-Wilfred Tsonga during his match at the Queens Club grass court tennis tournament in London
Earlier, Andy Roddick eased past seventh-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2, and second-seeded Andy Murray received a walkover into the semifinals when eighth-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia withdrew with an ankle injury.
In a delayed third-round match, defending champion Sam Querrey was beaten 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Britain's James Ward.
Tsonga fired 25 aces and kept Nadal off-balance with his powerful baseline game as well as his inspired net play.
The pair played just two points before rain interrupted the match, and despite the court being covered Nadal remained on his chair for several minutes, signing autographs before returning to the locker room.
The French Open champion then edged the opening set. The Spaniard fought off a break point in the sixth game, failed to convert three break points at 5-5 but then claimed the last five points of the tiebreaker.
After an exchange of breaks to start the second set Tsonga broke again to lead 5-4 and served out the set.
In the third, Nadal missed a critical forehand volley at the net on game point and the fifth-seeded Frenchman went on to break for 1-0. That inspired Tsonga and he dominated the remainder of the match.
Roddick stamped his authority on his quarterfinal quickly, breaking to lead 2-1 and earning a further break in the fifth game with a forehand pass.
The American continued to dominate the Spaniard in the second set, breaking again for 2-1 and holding for 3-1 before rain interrupted play.
When play continued after a break of an hour, 45 minutes, Roddick immediately broke again by forcing Verdasco to net a backhand volley.
Roddick failed to take advantage of two match points on Verdasco's serve but ended the contest in the next game with a second-serve ace on his fourth match point.
"My first rain delay of the year is out of the way," said Roddick.
Querrey's defeat came after his third-round match was suspended overnight at one-set all. When play resumed, the 216th-ranked Ward earned the only break of the third set to lead 4-3, and fought off a break point as he served out the match.
"It's been unbelievable, last two matches obviously," said Ward, who earlier defeated fourth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka. "Best two wins of my career so far."