Rafael Nadal exits French Open with warning for Andy Murray

Rafael Nadal said goodbye to the French Open, beaten soundly in three sets by Novak Djokovic, with a warning for Andy Murray before his semi-final against the world No1 on Friday.

“He has to win two more matches,” the outgoing champion said after the Serb beat him 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 in two hours and 26 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier, “but this match only increases his confidence. He’s probably in the best moment of his career. He has a good chance to win here.”

Murray finished strongly after a skittish start and a late dip to beat the seventh seed David Ferrer 7-6, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 in three hours and 16 minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen. It was his first win over the Spaniard on clay in five attempts and confirmed his improvement on a surface in which he has won 15 matches in a row, as well as his first two titles. He could hardly be in better shape to take on Djokovic, who bossed Nadal at the start and finish of a tense quarter-final on the main court.

He had not won against Nadal at Roland Garros in six previous attempts but, once he had survived fightbacks in the first and second sets, the Serb demolished an opponent considered virtually unbeatable at a tournament he has won nine times.

Djokovic is taking nothing for granted. He said of Murray: “He has improved on clay, no doubt about it. Here he’s been playing some really good tennis. He’s moving better, serving very well, and he is always [among] the best groundstrokes in the game for the last 10 years.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Kevin Mitchell at Roland Garros, for The Guardian on Wednesday 3rd June 2015 21.57 Europe/London

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