Nadal to play Djokovic in Monte Carlo final

Nadal (left) shakes hands with Murray at the conclusion of their semifinal.
Rafael Nadal beat Andy Murray in straight sets to reach the final of the Monte Carlo Masters where he will play Serbia’s Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

Nadal will be bidding for his fifth straight title in the principality but was made to work for his 6-2 7-6 victory by Scot Murray who once again showed his growing adaptability to clay. But world number one Nadal is almost unbeatable on the surface and has won 26 straight matches at the prestigious tournament which acts as an important staging post on the way to the French Open next month. Djokovic, under pressure from Murray for the world number three spot, had earlier recovered to beat Swiss 13th seed Stanislas Wawrinka, 4-6 6-1 6-3 to reach his first final in Monte Carlo. Wawrinka had shocked compatriot and world number two Roger Federer earlier in the tournament and took a one set lead before Djokovic fought back. Murray showed he was ready to go head to head with Nadal by immediately retrieving an early break, but it was the be his final success of the opening set as the Spaniard broke him twice more. Murray held his service at the start of the second set but was broken to fall 3-1 behind and the writing looked on the wall. But serving for the match a 5-3, the 22-year-old Nadal was broken after seeing Murray save a matchpoint with an audacious drop shot. Murray then held service and threatened Nadal’s before it headed into a tiebreak. The world number four immediately went two mini-breaks down, fought back to retrieve them, but an acutely angled backhand moved Nadal to 6-4 and the Briton hit a decisive shot into the net as the Spaniard marched on for yet another final on clay. “I think he’s the greatest player in clay court history,” Murray told Press Association after his gallant failure. Nadal holds a 6-0 career advantage over Djokovic on the surface and will be hot favorite to claim the title again.