Andy Murray made his earliest grand slam exit for almost two years when he lost in the quarter-finals of the French Open but he still reflected on a positive tournament.

The world number four once again found the 'Little Beast' too tough on clay, falling to a 6-4 6-7 (3/7) 6-3 6-2 defeat to extend his record against David Ferrer on the slowest surface to no wins from four matches.

The 25-year-old said: "I think it was a good tournament for me. Coming in, I probably wasn't feeling as good as I did coming in last year. I believe I lost to a better clay-court player than me."

Not since the US Open in 2010, when Murray lost to Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round, had the Scot gone out before the last four.

Twelve months ago he reached the semi-finals for the first time at Roland Garros before losing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal, but there was no doubt Murray faced tougher opponents to reach the last eight this year.

For Viktor Troicki and Juan Ignacio Chela read Richard Gasquet and Ferrer, while Murray has also been battling back problems that almost ended his campaign against Jarkko Nieminen in the second round.

The Scot added: "I'll need to work on some things in my clay-court game for next year. But it's not the first time he's won against me on clay. It was going to be a tough match for me, and it proved that way.

"But I won against Juan Ignacio Chela in the quarter-finals last year, and obviously this year I was playing against Ferrer, so it was a slightly different match-up."

There were no such problems for Nadal, who maintained his record of not dropping a set at the tournament when he defeated Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 6-3, although his fellow Spaniard did at least provide a test.

Nadal, who is bidding for a record seventh French Open title, will play Ferrer in the semi-finals on Friday while Novak Djokovic takes on Roger Federer.