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Monte Carlo Masters: Resurgent Nadal rallies to reach 100th career final

Last updated on: April 17, 2016 00:21 IST

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates match point in his 2-6,6-4,6-2 victory against Britain's Andy Murray during his semi-final match at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club in Monte-Carlo, Monaco, on Saturday

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates match point in his 2-6,6-4,6-2 victory against Britain's Andy Murray during the Monte Carlo Masters semi-final match at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club in Monte-Carlo, Monaco, on Saturday. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal continued his resurgence with a thrilling 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over world number two Andy Murray on Saturday to reach his 10th final at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The win, Nadal's 57th in Monte Carlo and seventh over Murray in eight meetings on clay, puts him into his 100th ATP World Tour final.

The World No 5 faces Gael Monfils, who beat fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 6-3.

Eight-time champion Nadal has struggled since losing the 2013 final to Novak Djokovic but overcame a strong early showing from Murray to book a spot in the final.

He will aim to equalise a record 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown to level with Djokovic.

Rafael Nadal of Spain (L) shakes hands with Andy Murray

IMAGE: Rafael Nadal (left) shakes hands with Andy Murray after the match. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

"It’s great to be back in the final," said Nadal.

"Every year is different; I'll never be the same as I was in 2009 or 2013, I want to play better every day."

Nadal started sluggishly, allowing an aggressive Murray to take the opening set before breaking serve in the seventh game of the second to take the initiative.

Another Nadal break at the beginning of the third set was asign of things to come and the Spaniard demonstrated his mastery on clay as the momentum slipped away from the ill-tempered Murray to reach the 100th final of his career.

"Rafa is playing better this year, his confidence is growing," said Murray.

"I'm not surprised by his comeback.

"I played a good match today for the most part," continued the Scot.

"But you have to take your chances. It was frustrating to see it slip away."

France's Gael Monfils waves to spectators after defeating his compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Saturday

IMAGE: France's Gael Monfils waves to spectators after defeating his compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Saturday. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Monfils became the first Frenchman to reach the Monte Carlo final since Cedric Pioline in 2000.

Monfils, the 13th seed, twice broke Tsonga to tear into a 3-0 lead before closing out the first set 6-1, as his opponent struggled to rouse himself.

The second set continued much as the first had ended and Monfils raced into a 4-1 lead before Tsonga, perhaps drained after a testing quarter-final victory over Roger Federer, began to discover his rhythm.

By then it was too late, however, and Monfils saw out the second set.

"I tried to get into my game immediately and put him under pressure," said Monfils.

"I'm happy to have qualified for the final.

"I'm going to savour it and I hope that we'll deliver a good match on Sunday."

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