Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached his fifth Wimbledon final on Friday with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win over fourth seed Andy Murray, leaving British hopes of a first champion since 1936 in tatters.
Top seed Nadal, the winner also in 2008, will take on Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final, the match given an extra edge by the Serb guaranteed to depose the Spaniard from the World No. 1 spot.
Second-seeded Australian Open champion Djokovic, beaten only once in his last 50 matches, reached his first Wimbledon final with a 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-3 win over French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
For Murray, it was a third successive semifinal loss at the All England Club. But it came after he had enjoyed a storming start, forcing 10-time Grand Slam title winner Nadal onto the back foot before his challenge quickly imploded.
Murray gave his fans a scare after just three games when he called for the trainer after suffering an early twinge in the right hip strain he suffered in his fourth round win over Feliciano Lopez.
But he was untroubled throughout the rest of the set where he easily looked the more assured of the two rivals despite carrying a 4-11 win-loss record against the great Spaniard into the semifinal.
Serve dominated with Murray firing a 135mph ace to help him to a 6-5 lead before taking the opener in the 12th game. But then Murray's challenge unravelled.
The top seed carved out a first break point in the fifth game of the second set when Murray served up a double fault which he converted into a 3-2 lead when the Scot unleashed a wild smash.
Nadal broke again to lead 5-2 and the match was level at a set apiece when a lazy Murray backhand sailed wide with Nadal having reeled off five games in succession.
That soon became seven on the trot as Nadal claimed another break and a hold to lead 2-1 in the third set.
Murray's defences were breached once more in the seventh game as Nadal went 5-2 ahead and the set was the Spaniard's when the British fourth seed netted a forehand.
Nadal was a break to the good to lead 2-0 in the fourth set and saved two break points in the fourth game for 3-1.
Murray saved a match point at 3-5 with his 13th ace, and another in the next but Nadal wrapped up the tie with another killer forehand.
Earlier, Djokovic collapsed to the Centre Court turf in delight after booking his place in Sunday's final, an ambition he later revealed he had held since first picking up a tennis racquet at the age of four.
“It feels amazing. You know, when I finished the match I didn't know how to show my emotions,” Djokovic said. “This is one of those moments where you can't describe it with the words.
“You remember all your career, all your childhood, everything you worked for, you know, that comes true now.”
The Serbian 24-year-old wondered whether he would ever be able to emulate Federer's or Nadal's impressive accumulation of Grand Slam titles.
“Both of them are incredibly consistent with their success and so dominant the last couple years. They don't give you a lot of chances to become number one,” Djokovic said.
Tsonga rues hurry-up call
Tsonga said a warning from the chair umpire about slow play had disrupted his rhythm during his four-set loss.
Tsonga broke Djokovic's serve in the first game of the match and served for the opening set but after a few words in French from Portuguese Carlos Ramos, he was broken by the Serbian second seed.
“I started well then at 5-4 the umpire told me to take less time between points. I said ‘Yes',” Tsonga told reporters.
“It's complicated because he said that I was taking a bit longer than allowed...then he said nothing.
“There are other players who I play from time to time who take their time too...but no one ever says anything.”
Bad day for Sania
Fourth seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Elena Vesnina made it to the mixed doubles semifinals beating Jonathan Erlich and Shahar Peer 6-4, 6-1.
However, sixth seeded Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna fell 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 to Paul Hanley and Su-Wei Hsieh in their quarterfinal match.
Sania also crashed out of the women's doubles event; she and Vesnina , seeded fourth, went down 6-3, 6-1 to second seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the semifinals.
Keywords: Wimbledon 2011