In overcast conditions which forced the match to be suspended for around 24 minutes at the outset of the third set due to showers in Paris, Great British hope Murray - the fourth seed - was distinctly off colour as he tumbled out tamely with his service game failing to hold up under stern examination by clay court specialist Ferrer.
Murray has never beaten sixth seed Ferrer on the red stuff and despite winning the second set on a tie-break, he never looked happy with the conditions or his strategy as coach and triple French Open champion Ivan Lendl looked on ruefully perched in the stands on the Suzanne Lenglen court.
Murray remains without a major title in his career, and will need to wait for the grass of Wimbledon in London later this month before he focuses on ending that situation.
Murray made 59 unforced errors in the match compared to 32 from Ferrer, but it was his second serve that betrayed him with the Scotsman winning only 39 per cent of points when his first serve failed to find the target. He cut a demoralised figure as Ferrer broke him for a third time in the fourth set to complete the win.
Ferrer will face defending champion Rafael Nadal in his first appearance in a semi-final at Roland Garros. Six-times champion Nadal strolled past fellow-countryman Nicolas Almagro in straight sets.
The Spaniard deflected everything the Scot could throw at him, before his metronomic reliability finally ground his opponent down.
"I played the important moments better," was Ferrer's simple explanation for his advance to the final four where he faces the seemingly untouchable Nadal.
It will be the 30-year-old Ferrer's first appearance in the semi-finals at Roland Garros, which he described as a "big relief" after years of being tipped for success in Paris.
His never-say-die attitude and ability to swiftly turn defence into attack means his game is ideally suited to the Parisian red dust.
It was unfortunate for Murray that a rain delay seemed to turn the match back in the Spaniard's favour just when he seemed to have gained some momentum, having clawed his way back to one set all.
Not that Murray offered this as an excuse. "It was actually probably better conditions to play in after we came back," he said.
"After the rain delay there wasn't as much wind and the sun was out a little bit."
Murray's frustration on court was evident from the running commentary he offered as the errors mounted up, with his forehand in particular letting him down.
That frustration was borne out of a realisation that Ferrer had all the answers to whatever gameplan he had coming into the match.
The Spaniard rarely missed with a hittable return and, whenever Murray tried to vary his approach with a drop shot or eager charge to the net, his efforts were swatted away.
Ferrer was not invulnerable and Murray broke his serve five times. On each of those occasions, however, Ferrer broke straight back.
The prize for the victor is a semi-final clash with compatriot and six-times champion Nadal, who continued his unblemished run to the last four with yet another straight sets victory.
"His serve is huge; he's improved on all his shots," Ferrer said of his friend and next opponent.
"He's left-handed, so it's very difficult to return his serves and Rafa knows it."