Murray seeks Nadal scalp in last four

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Andy Murray scrapped his way through to the French Open semi-finals for the first time and then declared: “I can beat Rafael Nadal”.

The world number four will take on the five-time Roland Garros champion on Friday after coming through a topsy-turvy clash with Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6 (7/2) 7-5 6-2.

Murray has now made the semi-finals of three clay-court events this year after losing close matches to Nadal in Monte Carlo and Novak Djokovic in Rome, and he believes he can make it third-time lucky to reach his first final on the surface.

He said: “I think in the build-up to the French I was playing very well, and now I’m going to have to get that level out on Friday and sustain it for a long period to beat Rafa. But I feel I can do it. I have to play a very consistent match and I have to be mentally strong. I can definitely win. I just need to play my best.”

“I’m surprised I’m here, to be honest, because I haven’t actually played that well,” he said. “Aside from everything else that’s happened, I haven’t played particularly well.

“That’s a very good sign for me because a few months ago I was not playing well and losing badly. I’m glad that I’m here but now I’ve got two days to rest up, recover.”