(CNN) -- Top seed Novak Djokovic suffered a shock semifinal defeat to Fernando Verdasco on Saturday to end his hopes of avenging last year's loss to Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo Masters title match.
While Nadal moved a step closer to his sixth successive triumph at the opening event of the European claycourt season in Monaco with a 6-2 6-3 win over fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, world No. 2 Djokovic crashed to a 6-2 6-2 reverse against sixth seed Verdasco.
"I wasn't moving well, I wasn't feeling well on the court -- it was a bad day," Djokovic told reporters.
Verdasco, who has not beaten his compatriot Nadal in nine encounters, needed little over an hour and a half to overcome the Serbian, who had returned to form this week after a disappointing time in his past two hardcourt events in the United States.
"I want to be the one to break Nadal's streak," Verdasco told reporters. "I tried to use my forehand well against Djokovic and make him really play. This will be my first final in Monte Carlo and I'm really excited."
Nadal took only 76 minutes to reach his 49th final on the ATP Tour with a comfortable victory against 11th seed Ferrer.
His last defeat at the Monte Carlo Country Club came as a 16-year-old against Guillermo Coria in 2003, and he has lost only six career matches out of 164 on his favored clay surface.
Former world No. 1 Nadal has not won a tournament in 11 months after a year wrecked by injuries. But he now has the chance to equal the record of six Monte Carlo titles held by Englishman Reggie Doherty, who triumphed in 1897-99 and 1902-04.
Nadal was happy to make it through to final after falling in the last four in his previous Masters events in Miami and Indian Wells.
"I'm playing very well, I had a very good match today. The last two games, I was a little bit more nervous than usual because I lost two semifinals in a row," he told reporters.
"But for the rest, I think I played a very, very complete match. It's great to start the clay season like this. I'm playing well and I'm very happy with my game."