MONTE CARLO (AFP) - Top seed Rafael Nadal won his 35th consecutive match at the Monte Carlo Masters by crushing Ivan Ljubicic 6-1, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals on Friday. The Spaniard, who is bidding for a seventh successive title at the event, will next face the winner of the tie between Scottish third seed Andy Murray and Portuguese outsider Frederico Gil. Nadal improved to a phenomenal 37-1 record at the venue, with his only loss coming to Guillermo Coria on his debut in 2003. Former world number three Ljubicic had lost four straight matches prior to this week, but bounced back by beating 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and number five seed Tomas Berdych. Second seed Roger Federer, a three-time losing finalist to Nadal between 2006 and 2008, was upset 6-4, 6-4 by Jurgen Melzer, having never previously lost a set in three meetings with the Austrian. Federer was well off his best form after two superlative matches this week in the principality as he began his season on clay. The Swiss great was quick to admit that he had been outplayed on the day as he missed too many chances. "I don't think I played terrible. It's still the first week of clay, so I don't expect myself to play my very best," he said. "He played well when he had to and I missed too many chances. Every time I had this slight opening, things didn't go my way. Either he shanks them and they stay in play, or he hits the line. Melzer played in some pain after leaving the court with just one game completed to have treatment on a neck problem. But he came out a changed man, who took control against the 16-time Grand Slam-winner. "I felt it when I played a backhand, it kind of blocked my spine," said Melzer. "But the physio did a great job unblocking it. Spain's fourth seed David Ferrer will face Melzer in the semis after defeating Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-3.