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Andy Murray failed to build on a bright start as eight-time champion Rafael Nadal came from a set down to book his place in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters.
Second seed Murray appeared on course for his first final at the Masters event but Nadal has good memories of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and he drew on those positive experiences to win 2-6 6-4 6-2.
Murray ended a seven-match losing streak on clay against Nadal by beating him for the first time on the surface in the Madrid Open final last May and he started confidently in Monte Carlo.
The Scot earned a break point in Nadal's first service game and he continued to ask questions of the Spaniard with his strong returning game as he took a grip on the first set.
Murray took the second of three break points in the set to go 4-2 up and then came out on top in a long service game before breaking Nadal again to wrap up the opener.
British number one Murray broke back immediately after losing his serve in the first game of the second set but Nadal took control once more with another break in the seventh.
Murray failed to make the most of two break points in the next game and Nadal went on to comfortably serve out for the set.
World number two Murray again lost his first service game in the decider and Nadal broke once more to take a firm grip on the match.
Murray rallied at 5-2 - saving four match points - but he failed to convert two break points and Nadal completed a hard-fought victory.
Fifth seed Nadal is guaranteed to take on a Frenchman in the final with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga taking on compatriot Gael Monfils in the second semi-final.