Djokovic battles to reach Monte Carlo final

MONTE CARLO (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic reached the Monte Carlo Masters tennis final when he battled back from a set down to defeat sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 4-6 6-3 6-2 on Saturday.

The Serbian will face either seven-times champion Rafael Nadal or France's Gilles Simon who were meeting in the second semi-final of the season's first big claycourt event.

Djokovic has been overcome by emotion at times since the death of his grandfather on Thursday and the top seed had to work hard to move past Berdych after two hours 42 minutes.

He wowed the packed crowd when he hit a backhand winner to wrap up the victory and advance to his 45th ATP Tour final.

On a sunny afternoon by the Mediterranean, where the two players were distracted by gusty winds, Djokovic wasted an early break chance in the first set with uncharacteristic unforced errors.

Berdych relied on his powerful forehand, as he did in his quarter-final win over world number four Andy Murray, to clinch the opening set.

Djokovic, who now has a 9-1 win-loss record to Berdych, raised his arms to the sky after holding on to his serve to take the hard-fought opening game of the second set.

He repeatedly screamed out loud and clenched his fists several times as he mounted his fightback, breaking early in the second and third sets and pushing Berdych into committing numerous mistakes.

(Reporting by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Clare Fallon)