Rafael Nadal beat fourth-seeded Andy Murray 6-2, 7-6 (4) on Saturday to reach the final of the Monte Carlo Masters.
Nadal was due to meet the third-seeded Novak Djokovic in yesterday’s final. The Serbian player rallied from a set down to beat Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Nadal’s victory kept him on course for a fifth straight Monte Carlo title.
Murray rallied from 5-2 down in the second set on Saturday to push Nadal to play his best tennis after cruising in the first set.
The Scot was pushed 3m behind the baseline at times, but this defensive strategy afforded him little opportunity to attack Nadal in the opening set.
He began the second more aggressively and held his serve at love with a perfect drop shot at 30-0 and a backhand winner on his next point.
The match appeared wrapped up for Nadal at 5-2, but Murray roared back with some phenomenal winners that not even the speedy Nadal could chase down.
Murray held and then pegged Nadal behind the baseline, finally converting a break point with a smash that got him back to 5-4.
The players forced a tiebreaker which featured one 29-stroke rally that Nadal won with a forehand winner into the corner for a 5-3 lead. Another long rally went Nadal’s way when he found a narrow angle to hit a crosscourt winner for 6-4. He then clinched the match when Murray hit a backhand into the net.
■FAMILY CIRCLE CUP
REUTERS, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Dane Caroline Wozniacki upset top seed Elena Dementieva 6-4 5-7 7-5 on Saturday to reach the final of the Family Circle Cup where she was due to meet another teenager in German Sabine Lisicki.
Fifth-seed Wozniacki looked set for a comfortable win as she went 5-2 up in the second.
Dementieva saved three match points to take the contest into a hard-fought third set, but Wozniacki was not to be denied.
Sixteenth seed Lisicki had an easier path to the final, beating sixth seed Marion Bartoli of France 6-3 6-1.
The 19-year-old German has never won a WTA Tour event.