Roger Federer reached his 12th Wimbledon final on Friday, defeating old rival Rafael Nadal, 11 years after the Spaniard triumphed in their epic 2008 title showdown at the All England Club, a match widely regarded as the greatest ever played.
The 37-year-old eight-time champion won 7-6 (7/3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the pair’s 40th career meeting to move into his 31st Grand Slam final where he will face defending champion Novak Djokovic.
In a tight 51-minute opener, Nadal managed to save the only break point in the eighth game before surrendering the advantage of an early mini-break in the tie-breaker which Federer claimed thanks to five points in a row.
The Spaniard finally carved out the first break of the semi-final in the fourth game of the second set, backing it up with a hold for 4-1.
Nadal then broke again for 5-1 as Federer suffered a sudden and severe power outage with the two-time champion comfortable levelling the contest.
Federer, the oldest semi-finalist in a Grand Slam semi-final since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open, broke Nadal for the first time in the fourth game of the third set.
He then fought off three break points for a key 4-1 lead, coming out on top in a 23-shot rally and then a 25-stroke exchange.
There was no respite for Nadal, an 18-time Slam winner, who slipped a break down at 2-1 in the fourth.
Nadal saved two match points in the ninth game and two more in the 10th but a loose return sealed his fate.