In 2011 - the only previous time the Scot has reached the semi-finals at the French Open - he played Nadal in three successive grand slam semi-finals and lost each time.
The US Open that year was their last match at a slam, while Murray's victory in Tokyo the following month had been their most recent meeting until they faced off in the quarter-finals in Rome three weeks ago.
Nadal won again, but there was plenty to encourage Murray, who has come out on top twice in their eight slam meetings. He won the first set 6-1, drilling winners seemingly at will and making Nadal look average on the surface he has dominated.
The Spaniard hit back to level but Murray led 4-2 in the decider and, had he held serve at that point, he may well have recorded a first win on clay over Nadal.
He said of the Rome meeting: "I definitely learned some things in that match. It was quite clear in my head what was working and what wasn't.
"It's obviously different conditions here and a different court, different balls and stuff. When we played in Rome it was extremely cold. It was raining and it was wet.
"So conditions change, which makes a match slightly different as well. But there are some things I learned in that match that hopefully I can use to my advantage on Friday."