Rafael Nadal reached to his 100th tour-level final after fighting from a set down to beat world number 2 Andy Murray 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a thrilling contest in the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
The Spaniard took two hours and 45 minutes to win a tense, in a thriller encounter 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in front of a well-baked throng on Court Rainier III. It was Nadal’s 11th semi-final in 12 visits to the Monte Carlo Country Club, although the last of his eight consecutive titles was five years ago.
Andy Murray beat Nadal first time on clay in last year’s Madrid Masters final, but his hopes of being only the third player to earn back-to-back victories over the world number five on the surface were dashed in a brutal two-and-a-half-hour encounter.
World Number 5 signaled his intentions in just the second game, opening break point which he ultimately couldn’t convert. The first five games, not for a lack of Murray’s pressure, went with serve.
Leading 3-2, Murray finally found the breakthrough that he had been threatening. Rafel Nadal, busy in a row with the umpire, conceded three break points, and Murray sealed the advantage at the second attempt before holding his subsequent serve.
I don’t care really, Murray said. I got to No1 the first British player to head the ATP doubles rankings, on 4 April, so it would not be the end of the world. What mattered was that we won the match. There were a couple of tricky moments, but it went pretty well from start to finish. Winning a Masters title would be another stepping stone for us.
We have a great partnership, Murray said of a combination with Soares that has now returned them 17 wins in 20 matches. We had three great matches here and long may it continue. We want to win every match we play.