|Wimbledon 2019 on the BBC|
|Venue: All England Club dates: 1-14 July|
|coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app. Full details|
This was the match Wimbledon had been waiting so long for.
Eleven years from their last meeting at the Center Court grass – that remarkable 2008 final – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with 38 Grand Slam titles between them, were back.
Their semi-final had its own hashtag, # FEDAL40, celebrating their 40th meeting. Henman Hill was so full that cordons were put in place to help ease overcrowding.
The queue for the resale ticket office was hundreds of people there was little chance of any of the near 15,000 people on Center Court budding from their seats.
David Beckham was back in the Royal Box for a second successive day to see his fellow sporting legends, Sir David Attenborough was on the edge of his seat and actors Jude Law and Hugh Grant were mesmerized by the unfolding drama.
This, if it was proven and always was going to be, was one of those "I was there" moments.
It may not have been dramatic as the 2008 final but the final stages were full of tension, with Nadal saving four match points. But it was Federer who clinched a 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 victory and the chance to take on defending champion Novak Djokovic on Sunday.
'It was a masterclass from Federer'
Eight-time champion Federer is just four weeks shy of his 38th birthday but his performance against Nadal just why, if not yet confirmed, he is considered the greatest tennis player ever stepped foot on a court.
Great Federer's Swiss backhand has often considered his weakness, as he has previously said, yet his work to improve this area of his game was evident with several sublime winners.
His movement, his resilience, his shot selection – they all point to a player at the peak of his powers, albeit one who is inevitably nearing the end of his career. But Spaniard Nadal – four years his junior – still came unstuck.
"Nadal dug his toes in, he knew he had to make Federer serve it out. We know they are very resilient players," said British number one Tim Henman on BBC Two.
"What surprised me when the rallies extended out, it was Federer who was coming out on top. He was driving in, looking at the points at the net, and for three of four sets it was a masterclass from Federer.
"Historically, we've seen Nadal dominate when it extends the rallies. At 37, Federer – you felt – might get tired but it was just phenomenal.
"Nadal was always playing catch-up. Nadal was never really up-to-date and able to get the crowd on the side."
Federer's eight titles are more than any other man in history and if he beats Djokovic he will match Martina Navratilova's success in women's singles.
His performance against Nadal perhaps set a precedent for what is to come on Sunday, but in Djokovic he faces a defending champion eager not to relinquish his title.
"It was surprising how aggressive and how consistent Federer was," added Henman.
"On the back of that performance, it's going to be very interesting to start thinking about the dynamics of the final."
- Roger Federer has a 11-1 win-loss record in Wimbledon semi-finals. His only defeat in the semi-finals here came against Canada's Milos Raonic in 2016
- At 37 years 340 days, Federer becomes the third oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final in the open era
- Federer is making his 21st consecutive Wimbledon appearance and his 77th Grand Slam
- Federer holds the open era record for the most career grass-court titles with 19 titles on the surface
What they said
Pat Cash: A near flawless #Federer defeats #Nadal to get into yet another #Wimbledon final! Good tennis from the 37-year-old. Unreal stuff!
Greg Rusedski: Roger Federer was absolutely brilliant today. His second serve stat for points won and his backhand were incredible today. What a champion performance. Credit to Nadal as well who gave everything.
Katie Boulter: What a privilege to be watching these two men. Incredible.
What you said
KAYAK: That backhand of Federer should be declared as the eighth wonder of the world
Tom Brown: I love Roger Federer. For me, he is the greatest sportsman of all time.
Marc Nash: The tennis world will never be the same when these guys are not around anymore. Two of the best sportsmen ever seen and they are now old and still nobody can get near them.
Karl Bristow: Sometimes it feels like the game needs young stars to come through. But when you watch a high-quality match like that, you will be Federer vs Nadal at Wimbledon forever.
Philip West: Federer has just laid the ghosts of 2008 to rest, and if that's the final time he and Nadal play each other at #Wimbledon, what a match to close it out.
Now for Djokovic …
Federer and Djokovic's last meeting came at the Paris Masters last year but not since the 2015 Wimbledon final have gone head-to-head on grass. Their last two meetings on this surface have resulted in Djokovic victories.
In fact on all surfaces, eight of their last 10 meetings have gone the Serb's way. But Federer is someone who can never be written off.
"It's just staggering. Nobody has really shown this sort of longevity – not at this level anyway," said BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller.
But are there any chinks in Federer's armor?
"The only thing that slightly concerns me was that he was exhausted at the beginning of his interview," Fuller added. "That must have delighted Novak Djokovic."