It’s Federer over Nadal, in the twilight, at Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic in action on Friday against Roberto Bautista Agut

But unlike Nadal's five-set victory in that epic encounter more than a decade ago, a match dubbed the greatest of all time, Federer reigned 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 in another classic to set up a blockbuster final with world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

The rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer continues on Sunday as the defending Wimbledon champion takes on the eight-time All England Club victor in the 2019 final.

His only loss came at the French Open semi-finals last month, when Nadal ruled on clay once again with a straight sets win. After his victory, Federer said "Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match".

"I am sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity", he said.

When he takes to Centre Court on Sunday he will enjoy considerable support against a man who has been no less formidable at the All England Club these past two weeks, and who is gunning to move one step closer to Federer's record Grand Slam haul.

Despite all the sporting rivalry, Nadal and Federer are also in addition to the square well.

"The day of the test you're not going to read, I don't know, how many books that day".

Roger Federer says he believes his win was written in the stars. I think the moment you've played somebody probably more than 15 times, there's not that much more left out there.

However, Federer said he won't be over-awed by the challenge as he chases a 21st major and Djokovic targets a 16th.

Federer beat Nadal in the Grand Slam tournament's previous two finals. A second break was achieved when Federer badly framed a forehand and Nadal served for the set, holding to love, the match now level and the outcome thrown into doubt. But the Swiss has traded years for experience, and at nearly 38, having won a record 20 Grand Slam titles, is playing with a sense of freedom and adventure again. Federer could taste the finish line by then but his first match point opportunity vanished on a missed forehand return.

Even he didn't really expect his visit to the All England Club to last this long: The Spaniard was supposed to meet a half-dozen of his buddies on the island of Ibiza this weekend for his bachelor party. And then there was this: Federer won 25 of the 33 points when he went to the net.

For some reason, he has never quite captured the hearts of the Centre Court crowd in the same way as Federer, Murray or Rafael Nadal, but insists that will not affect his focus. - Serena Williams, responding to a reporter's question at her post-match news conference.

Roger Federer has won the first set 7-6 (3) in his Wimbledon semifinal against Rafael Nadal. Djokovic is eyeing a fifth championship at Wimbledon and 16th major title. "It's definitely gonna go down as one of my favorite matches to look back on, just because of its Rafa, because it's at Wimbledon and the weather was great and the crowd was great". It is a shot that no one else in the world can hit, and even a war horse like Nadal is unable to track down.

¯ Early on Federer was down on break points in a big way, with Nadal capitalizing on two of his four chances to zero out of three for the eight-time champion.

There was no better testament to that than this semi-final clash, with the duo taking part in rallies that simply seemed to defy the laws of physics. "Obviously, winning that game was crucial for me".