Monte Carlo - Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on Saturday set up their third Monte Carlo Masters final meeting, with the Serb top seed the last obstacle to the Spaniard's pursuit of a ninth title.
Nadal is one win away from a record triumph at the Mediterranean venue and has already defeated world number one Djokovic in the tournament in 2009 and in 2012.
Djokovic had a stress-free semi-final win over Italian Fabio Fognini, crushing the outsider 6-2, 6-1 in 52 minutes.
Earlier, Nadal survived a storming comeback attempt from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before finally holding off the French sixth seed to win 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).
"I'm going to try to play my best match and try to get a chance to win the final," said Nadal, who has now won 46 successive matches at the tournament.
"He's not the perfect opponent (for my game). But if you don't feel a special feeling when you are playing the final of Monte Carlo, you'd better go back home, play golf and go fishing.
"He brings you to the limit of your game if you want to have chances to win. I know I have to play better than I did today and yesterday to try to win tomorrow.
"I have to play more aggressive, I'm gonna try."
Both finalists have made huge strides this week, with Djokovic playing better each day on an injured ankle and Nadal regaining his confidence on clay, a surface on which he has dominated for nearly a decade.
"We always play long matches," said Djokovic.
"It will be very demanding but this is not the first time we have played on clay. Hopefully this one will be the lucky time for me."
Nadal has the edge in meetings between the pair and won three of their four clashes in 2012.
Nadal, seeded third but always the man to beat on the dirt, spent 96 minutes on court as Tsonga rallied from a set and 5-1 down, breaking the Spaniard twice but failing in the second-set tiebreak which decided the dramatic contest.
Sealing victory on his fifth match point, Nadal takes his place in a fifth consecutive final since making his comeback in February after seven months out with knee problems.
The 26-year-old Spaniard stands one win away from an historic ninth straight trophy in the principality, where his solitary loss came in 2003 as a teenager.
The win was the second narrow escape in as many days for Nadal, who had to battle back from a set down to beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in their quarter-final.
Result from the seventh day of the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday:
Rafael Nadal (ESP x3) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x6) 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-2, 6-1