(CNN)Novak Djokovic battled into the final of the Monte Carlo Masters with a hard-fought 6-3 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal Saturday.
The tie represented the first meeting between the pair since the 2014 French Open final which Nadal won to take his ninth crown at Roland Garros and 14th major title overall.
But it was a different tale on the overcast shores of the Mediterranean.
The Spaniard has struggled for form after returning from back surgery late last year.
And although he broke the World No 1. In the first game of the match, sliding around the clay and deploying his trademark shoulder-high top-spin, it wasn't long before the in-form Djokovic took control.
The Serb has won back to Masters events in recent weeks and broke back in the fourth. He then got the better of some fierce rallies, breaking once more to go 5-3 up before closing out the set on serve.
The second set continued at an electric pace with both players trading exhausting winners.
Nadal saved two break points in the opening game but Djokovic finally wore down his opponent in a marathon seventh game that lasted just under 12 minutes.
The Spaniard battled to remain in the match but the game was up when Djokovic broke again in Nadal's next service game to secure the second set 6-3.
Berdych overcomes in-form Monfils
Djokovic will meet Tomas Berdych in Sunday's final after the Czech overcame Gael Mofils in the day's other semi.
Monfils was on top-form having dispatched of World No. 2 Roger Federer earlier in the week.
But Berdych was too strong for the Frenchman, triumphing 6-1 6-4 in just one hour and eight minutes.
Berdych will now appear in his first Masters 1000 final since losing to Federer on the Madrid clay in 2012.