Murray dominated Nadal early moving out to 5-0 lead, taking the first set 6-1 with aggressive play from the Scot.
Nadal broke serve early in the second set to even the match and send the match to a third set. This marked the third straight match in Rome that the world No. 1 was pushed to three sets.
The third set saw both men exchange breaks to open the set, with Murray eventually taking a 4-2 lead. The world No. 1 broke right back and broke Murray again in the 11th game and closed out the match on his serve.
Both men engaged in long hard-hitting rallies throughout the match. Murray who had back surgery back in September said it was a positive performance.
“I’m getting close to getting back to where I want to be, and that’s pleasing with a couple of big months ahead,” The seventh seed Murray told press. “Tonight was probably the best I’ve hit the ball for a while, and the best I’ve felt physically since the surgery.”
“I really didn’t feel like I was playing bad in the first set. Probably tactically (it was) not good but inside the energy was really good,” Nadal said. “Tonight I didn’t have any negative thoughts for the whole match. I closed the match at the first opportunity.”
“The physical part is really good, the mental part too, and my tennis is going to be there sooner or later,” Nadal added. “This was one of my best matches in a while.”
“I saw Andy playing well again so victory means a lot. These wins give me a lot of power and make me feel alive.”
Nadal will face Grigor Dimitov for a spot in the final on Saturday.
On the other side of the draw, Novak Djokovic had to fight of a game David Ferrer. Djokovic who is back from a wrist injury won 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. He’ll face Milos Raonic n his semifinal.
INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA
May 12-18, 2014
Results – Friday, May 16, 2014
WTA Singles – Quarterfinals
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Zhang Shuai (CHN) 61 63
(10) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (2) Li Na (CHN) 63 46 62
(6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 64 64
(11) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (13) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 64 36 64
WTA Doubles – Quarterfinals
(2) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. (5) Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND) 62 63
(8) Goerges/Groenefeld (GER/GER) d. (3) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 75 76(3)
(4) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. Erakovic/Parra Santonja (NZL/ESP) 64 64
Medina Garrigues/Shvedova (ESP/KAZ) d. Dellacqua/Jans-Ignacik (AUS/POL) 64 61
RESULTS – FRIDAY, 16 MAY 2014
ATP Singles – Quarterfinals
 R Nadal (ESP) d  A Murray (GBR) 16 63 75
 N Djokovic (SRB) d  D Ferrer (ESP) 75 46 63
 M Raonic (CAN) d J Chardy (FRA) 63 57 62
 G Dimitrov (BUL) d  T Haas (GER) 62 00 ret. (right shoulder)
ATP Doubles – Quarterfinals
 B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d T Haas (GER) / R Stepanek (CZE) walkover
R Haase (NED) / F Lopez (ESP) d  I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) 63 62
G Dimitrov (BUL) / L Rosol (CZE) d M Cilic (CRO) / S Gonzalez (MEX) 46 64 10-8
SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, MAY 17, 2014
CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
WTA –  J Jankovic (SRB) vs  S Errani (ITA)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP –  M Raonic (CAN) vs  N Djokovic (SRB)
Not Before 4:30 pm
WTA –  S Williams (USA) vs  A Ivanovic (SRB)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP –  R Nadal (ESP) vs  G Dimitrov (BUL)
After Suitable Rest – R Haase (NED) / F Lopez (ESP) vs G Dimitrov (BUL) / L Rosol (CZE)
PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
WTA – A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs  K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO)
ATP –  B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs  D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB)
After Suitable Rest – WTA –  J Goerges (GER) / A Groenefeld (GER) vs  S Errani (ITA) / R Vinci (ITA)