Rafael Nadal is through to his 100th tour-level final after fighting from a set down to beat Andy Murray 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a thrilling contest on Saturday in the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
When he faces Gael Monfils on Sunday, Nadal will challenge for his 68th tour-level crown and ninth at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, where he won eight successive titles from 2005-12.
Nadal looked set to mount a fightback as he broke Murray in the first game of the second set. But Murray continued to pummel away from the back of the court and was rewarded as he immediately levelled at 1-1. The Spaniard did not let slip a second break advantage though. After breaking Murray for a 4-3 lead, Nadal warmed to his task and rallied from 15/40 in the following game and went on to draw level.
It was all Nadal in the decider. The Spaniard was the one controlling the baseline exchanges and stepping in, taking advantage of a slight drop in Murray’s level. The Manacor native broke Murray in the first game of the third set and raced into a 5-2 lead. Murray made a last stand in an enthralling eighth game, saving four match points before creating two break chances. But Nadal stepped up to thwart Murray and converted his fifth match point in two hours and 44 minutes.
Nadal improved to a 57-4 record in Monte-Carlo as he reached the final for the 10th time. From 2005, he won 46 straight matches here before defeat to Djokovic in the 2013 final.