Now he stands just one win away from reaching the final in consecutive years.
"Obviously he didn't want to give me too much information when the tournament started".
Despite being the top seed, Murray was not on the list of favorites to win this title, but boy has he played his way into form with impressive wins over Juan Martin del Potro and Kei Nishikori along the way.
"All the top players have gone through that and I guess I have to learn lessons and figure how to get through".
Defending champion Djokovic collapsed to a meek 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-0 loss to Thiem in what was his earliest exit at Roland Garros in 7 years.
The two Spaniards had a good rally but at one point Carreno Busta hit a short ball and this delighted Nadal as he made him pay by smashing an unreachable volley onto Pablo's side. "And that's why at the end it was probably a little bit easier".
Murray beat Wawrinka in last year's semis, and leads their career head-to-head 10-7.
Wawrinka improved to 12-2 career against Cilic.More news: Strawberry Moon Is Coming, What Exactly Does That Mean?
The third-seeded Swiss player fell and rolled into the net as he set up match point but he dusted himself down to win the match with an ace.
PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Former runner-up Simona Halep came back from trailing by a set and 5-1 down in the second to claim a 3-6 7-6 (6) 6-0 win over Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.
Ostapenko converted her second match point with a forehand attack, her 50th victor of the match.
Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova advanced to the semifinals of the French Open by beating No. 28 Caroline Garcia of France 7-6 (3), 6-4.
She will play Karolína Plíšková of the Czech Republic in the last four.
It's crunch time at the French Open today and there are two highly anticipated matches on the Philippe Chatrier court.
She only needed one, winning with a crosscourt forehand victor.
Fourth seed Nadal recorded his 100th best-of-five-sets victory on clay - from just 102 matches. The Romanian wasted four set points but evened the match on her next opportunity in the tiebreaker after saving a match point.More news: Why Wonder Woman is groundbreaking
This time past year, he left Roland Garros in possession of all four tennis grand slams and having become the first player to break the $100 million (89 million euro) prize money barrier.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the USA and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic are one victory away from their second French Open women's doubles title and fifth major championship overall.
It is the fewest games the 31-year-old Nadal has lost on his way to the last four on the Paris clay.
Nadal, who is seeded fourth, can become only the third man in history to make 10 appearances in the final at one Grand Slam tournament.
The symbols of the three places where he won Grand Slam titles - a kangaroo for the Australian Open, the Eiffel Tower for Roland Garros and the Statue of Liberty for the U.S. Open - are printed on the back of his shoes, above the words "Stan" on his left and "The Man" on his right.
Mattek-Sands and Safarova won the French Open in 2015.
Thiem was beaten by Djokovic in his only other run to the last four of a grand slam previous year and was hammered by him in Rome last month, but gained revenge with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-0 victory on Court Suzanne Lenglen 12 months later.More news: Apple's HomePod speaker pumps up the volume on tech rivals