Defending champion Novak Djokovic defied a mid-match slump to reach the Wimbledon final with a four-set victory over Roberto Bautista Agut.
In an agitated display, the Serb beat Spain’s Bautista Agut 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-2 to reach his 25th Grand Slam final.
Djokovic, chasing his fifth Wimbledon title, will face Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday.
“This has been the dream tournament for me since I was a child,” said 32-year-old Djokovic.
“So to be in another final is a dream come true. Regardless of the history and many finals I’ve played, playing finals at Wimbledon is something different so I’ll definitely enjoy that experience.
“I had to dig deep. It’s the semi-finals and Roberto was playing his first Grand Slam semi-final. He was not overwhelmed.
“He played really well. He was managing his nerves in the first set but later on he established himself and started to play better.
“I got a bit tight. It was a close opening four or five games of the third set – that’s where the match could have gone a different way. I’m glad it went my way.”
Asked if he would be watching the second semi-final between Federer and Nadal, 15-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic said: “Of course I will watch it – my coaches will probably see the whole match. I’ll definitely see parts of it.
“I’m a fan of that match-up as well. Federer v Nadal is one of the most epic rivalries of all time.”
Djokovic stutters but battles back
Bautista Agut – who had been expecting to be in Ibiza for his stag do on Friday – had won both of his ties with Djokovic in 2019, in Doha and Miami, yet this was to be their first meeting on grass.
But he showed little sign of troubling Djokovic in the first set, having his opening service game broken as Djokovic steamrolled his way into a 3-0 lead.
Looking cool, calm and in control, the world number one broke Bautista Agut again at set point, hitting 12 winners and three aces in a 36-minute set.
But Djokovic looked unsettled in a second set in which he changed his racquet on numerous occasions, falling to an early break from which he didn’t recover.
He hit 13 unforced errors as Bautista Agut twice held to love, serving out the set at the first opportunity with a little help from the net cord.
Djokovic grew more agitated in the third set, taking a swipe at the grass early on after skewing a return, but he found the composure needed to go a break up midway through.
Ending a 45-shot rally with a backhand winner allowed Djokovic to hold the following game, in which Bautista Agut had held two break points, before serving out the set.
Djokovic spurned three break points in the opening game of the fourth set, ramming his finger into his head while looking towards his box as his frustrations got the better of him.
But he quickly went a double break up as Bautista Agut started to run out of gas, before serving out the set on his fifth match point.