Andy Murray beaten by Rafael Nadal in French Open semi-final

Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal powered past Andy Murray to reach his ninth French Open final in 10 years.

Nadal dominated with his serve and forehand to win 6-3 6-2 6-1 and set up a final against Novak Djokovic, who defeated Ernests Gulbis in four sets.

Match stats

Rafael Nadal
Murray Nadal

Match time: 1 hr 40 mins

2

Aces

2

3

Double faults

2

52%

1st serve %

76%

63%

1st serve win %

91%

34%

2nd serve win %

57%

11

Winners

24

26

Errors

15

0/0

Break points

6/6

The world's top two players will meet at Roland Garros for the third year running.

Murray will now head to London to defend his titles at Queen's Club and Wimbledon.

The Briton, 27, had high hopes of becoming just the second man to beat Nadal at Roland Garros, but he suffered a similar experience to his only previous Paris semi-final three years ago.

He could win only 10 points on the Nadal serve and went down in one hour and 40 minutes on a hot afternoon in the French capital.

"He played a great match," said Murray. "He missed hardly any balls. He served very well.

"His forehand - especially with the conditions the way they were today - it was was incredibly hard to control the ball.

"As soon as he was inside the court, he was hitting the ball so close to the line. He played great tennis."

Murray won an impressive 22-stroke opening point with a heavy forehand, but that was about as good as it got. Keen to remain on the front foot, he over-pressed and lost his first service game after two errors.

Nadal did not require a helping hand as, one wayward smash aside, he played a superb opening three games to establish control.

The Spaniard closed out the first set with a volley after 34 minutes and, in stifling conditions, Murray faced a daunting task having already played two five-set matches.

Nadal, 28, had struggled with a slight back issue earlier in the tournament but there was no sign of it has he leant back and cracked another blistering forehand into the corner on his way to another break.

Analysis

"This was a humbling defeat against a fellow Grand Slam champion and there may well be some scars for Murray the next time they face off on clay.

"The backhand Nadal decried as 'appalling' in his win over David Ferrer was back up to scratch, but totally overshadowed by his forehand - which looked as good as ever.

"There have been many encouraging signs on the clay for Murray, and the grass will make him a much more hostile opponent, but he's still to beat a top-10 player since becoming Wimbledon champion."

The Spaniard wrapped up the second set after 64 minutes without having faced a break point, or even been taken to deuce on his serve.

He had won 14 of the last 15 games in his quarter-final win over David Ferrer, and the semi-final was becoming similarly one-sided when he hammered away a smash to break in game three of the third set.

With drama lacking on the court, the crowd indulged in a lengthy Mexican wave that briefly held up Nadal, but clearly did not distract him.

A fifth break of serve gave the world number one a cushion he did not appear to need, and Nadal sealed victory with a smash that left Murray chasing in vain.

"I think I played very well with my forehand," said Nadal. "I think it was important to serve the way that I served today.

"It's true that for a player like Andy - he's a big returner - that he made more mistakes than usual on the return."

The Spaniard added: "He's a player I do admire quite a lot. He is a player who is just recovering from an injury and he's had very good results.

"He's somebody I know very well on a personal level. He's a beautiful person."