Nadal battles back to edge out Murray in Monte Carlo


Rafael Nadal displayed his famous fighting spirit once again to come from a set down against Andy Murray and reach the final of the Monte Carlo Masters - his 100th on the ATP Tour.

The Spaniard was a long way from his best as world number two Murray took the opening set, but Nadal dug in and prevailed 2-6 6-4 6-2 after an enthralling contest.

Nadal had triumphed in each of the past two Monte Carlo semi-finals between the pair and his record over Murray on clay now stands at 7-1.

Murray looked imperious in the first set and the Briton seemed set to take his place in a third clay-court final.

He had defeated Nadal on the same surface in Madrid last year, but the Spaniard was not to be denied on this occasion as he began to get the better of the lengthy rallies and ultimately won through.

A double break in the final set was further evidence of Nadal's class and the 29-year-old, who won eight consecutive titles here between 2005 and 2012, will have the chance to add to that tally against either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Gael Monfils.

There was little sign of Nadal's impending comeback as Murray romped into a one-set lead, putting almost constant pressure on his opponent's serve, clinching the set with a second break as Nadal sent a forehand into the net.

The pair traded breaks at the start of the second, but it was Nadal who took the initiative against the Murray serve, sealing a break with a stunning forehand down the line for a 4-3 lead.

A couple of overhead smashes levelled the match and Nadal took that momentum into the decider, breaking Murray immediately with a pair of sensational drop shots.

Another break, this time to love, gave him a measure of breathing space and, after wasting four match-point opportunities, Nadal secured his passage to a 10th Monte Carlo final as Murray could only send a forehand into the net on the run.