Enjoying his best week of what has been a tough season, Rafael Nadal seeks a third straight win over a Top 15 player Saturday when he meets rival Andy Murray for a spot in the Monte Carlo finals.
“He played a great match today,” said Nadal of Murray’s win over Milos Raonic. “We’ll see. I need to be ready to play the way I am playing the past two matches. If I am able to do it, I hope to have my chances.”
Nadal leads the Scot 16-6 splitting two meetings last year. But Murray stunned Rafa on his favorite surface in Spain in Madrid.
“I’ll go into the match with confidence having managed to win against him in Madrid on the clay last year, and having played a really good match today. I look forward to it,” said Murray who’s in his third Monte Carlo semifinal.
The two first played over nine years ago in a 5-set Australian Open fourth round won by Nadal. Nadal has won Monte Carlo a record eight times.
In the second semifinal, it’s an all-French affair between former semifinalists Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils. Neither player has been the finals of Monte Carlo, and Tsonga has never reached a clay final.
Tsonga has won four of six from his countryman. Monfils won their most recent meeting last year in Miami. This is their first clash on clay.
“It’s going to be a big match for several reasons,” said Monfils. “First, Jo has a game that I have trouble with. I was able to beat him once, but he was coming back from an injury.
“He gives me many problems. It’s always the case when I play against very aggressive players. I will need to find a solution to push him back and to try to stop him dominating the rallies. I think it’s going to be explosive.”
SATURDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
 J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs  I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)
Not Before 1:00 pm
 R. Nadal (ESP) vs  A. Murray (GBR)
Not Before 3:30 pm
 G. Monfils (FRA) vs  J. Tsonga (FRA)
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs  P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)
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