Andy Murray will face the toughest clay test imaginable at the Monte Carlo Masters as he plays a semi-final with Rafael Nadal after crushing an under-done Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-0 on Friday.
Nadal, winner of eight straight titles here from 2005-2012, holds the edge over the second-seeded Scotsman, defeating Murray in 2009 and 2011 semi-finals in the Principality.
The Spanish fifth seed who has spent almost 18 months in making a comeback to form after a mental slump, looked in fighting trim as he beat French Open champion Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4 in their quarter-final.
Nadal spent 77 minutes in victory against the tepid Swiss, the 2014 Monte Carlo winner. Wawrinka cracked a racquet in the fifth game of the first set on his way to the loss.
The disappointed fourth seed ended with 29 unforced errors while dropping serve four times.
Murray was always in command against Raonic, who has been suffering with the return of a right leg injury which troubled him at the Australian Open two months ago.
Raonic, playing a Monte Carlo quarter-final for a third consecutive edition, was never in the match, failing to find a single ace in his 66-minute defeat.
Murray said that while his win might not have been pretty, it still gave him confidence after struggling through his first two contests this week.
“I’ve played a lot of tennis, though it has all not been of the highest quality,” said the 28-year-old. “I’ve been able to learn from my previous matches. Today I served one of my best matches.
“Milos was not at his best, he can certainly serve better than today. I’m looking forward to the semi-finals.”
Murray’s win improved his standing against Raonic to 5-3 as he backed up a semi-final win over the Canadian in Melbourne.
Raonic has managed to put together a solid season despite his physical setbacks, now standing 20-4.