Roger Federer plays his way into history
Roger Federer became the first man to reach eight Wimbledon singles finals, knocking out defending champion Novak Djokovic with a beguiling victory on Centre Court.
The third seed progressed to his 24th Grand Slam final with a 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-3 win over tournament favourite Djokovic.
It took Federer two hours and 19 minutes to end Djokovic's reign.
He will need to beat either Andy Murray or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final to win a seventh Wimbledon title.
"Obviously, I'm ecstatic, I'm so happy," said Federer, who will equal William Renshaw and Pete Sampras' record of seven Wimbledon crowns should he win on Sunday.
"I played a great match. It has been a tough tournament for me. I was able to step it up and get a bit lucky maybe.
"I thought Novak played well too, the first two sets went really quickly and the third was key to the match."
It will be Federer's first Grand Slam final since last year's French Open and his first at Wimbledon since he won his sixth title in 2009.
Recent history was against the Swiss as Djokovic, attempting to reach a fifth consecutive Grand Slam final, had beaten the 16-time Grand Slam champion in four of their previous five Grand Slam semi-finals.
But first blood went Federer's way when Djokovic, unsure of foot in the early exchanges, slipped at the net when attempting an acrobatic volley for break point. He then hit a tame backhand to award the Swiss the decisive break of the opening set.
Within 24 minutes the third seed had edged ahead and Djokovic looked a shadow of the man who had reached five consecutive Grand Slam finals.
The Serb's movement quickly improved, though, and in the second game of the second set he collected three break points, breaking when Federer netted a forehand.
Both players started the third set tentatively, with Federer squandering break point in the second game with a wild forehand.
But four games later the match erupted into life as exquisite shot making from the 30-year-old - the highlight a sublime backhand winner down the line - had Djokovic on his heels.
The Serb continued to fetch and retrieve and boldly saved two break points to level at 3-3 before earning a break point of his own in the ninth game, which Federer saved thanks to courageous serving.
The third set once again ebbed Federer's way when Djokovic's nervy overhead smash gifted the Swiss two set points - and this time Federer grabbed his opportunity with a picture-perfect overhead volley.
Federer celebrated with a manic roar, while the Centre Court crowd rose to their feet in appreciation of the beguiling tennis on display.
Djokovic was rattled and surrendered his opening service game of the fourth and final set with a rash forehand into the tramlines.
The error proved to be fatal as Federer consolidated to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2009.