Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reached his fifth Wimbledon final as he resisted everything great rival Rafael Nadal could throw at him to win 6-4 3-6 7-6(9) 3-6 10-8 in a two-day classic that concluded in nerve-jangling tension on Saturday.
With women’s singles finalists Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber waiting in the locker room, Djokovic and Nadal hogged the stage as they continued where they left off the night before under the Centre Court roof.
Their record-extending 52nd career clash had been halted on a knife edge on Friday by Wimbledon’s 11 pm (2200 GMT) curfew after three-times champion Djokovic had saved three set points in a gripping third-set tiebreak to move two sets to one ahead.
When play resumed, still under cover despite the sunny weather, the quality of the tennis scaled the heights.
The fifth set alone lasted 91 minutes before Nadal finally buckled and a rejuvenated Djokovic advanced to his first Grand Slam final for two years in which he will be favourite against South African eighth seed Kevin Anderson.
“It’s hard to pick the words, I am just going through things that flash back -- the last 15 months, everything I have been through to get here,” said 12-times Grand Slam champion Djokovic, who has suffered a career-slump in the past 18 months.
“It’s very special. It really could have gone either way. It was clear very few things separated the two players. Until the last shot I didn’t know if I was going to win.”
Rafael Nadal leaves the court after losing to Novak Djokovic during the continuation of their Wimbledon men’s singles semi-final match. (AFP)