London: Eight-time winner Roger Federer beat arch-rival Rafael Nadal to reach the Wimbledon singles final for the 12th time here on Friday.
"It was a tough first set with not many chances," Federer said. "I thought I had a really good breaker. I served well there and came up with some really good returns and rallies. "The second set got tougher with the sun coming through on the Royal Box end. So I got broken there. It was a close match and he was able to take charge after I had a couple of chances early on in that second set.", he added
Second seed Federer, who turns 38 next month, won 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 against the Spanish in their first meeting here since 2008 final when Nadal lifted the trophy.
"I was able to stick to my game plan, stay aggressive, stay offensive. I guess I also started to serve a bit better after the second set. I won a lot of important points in the third and fourth sets. There were some brutal rallies in key moments that went my way. I think those might have made the difference today."
Nadal, who extended his record French Open win to 12 last month, said, "His return was better than mine. I didn't receive it well today. When that happens, he's an advantage, he's in control of the match generally because you feel a little bit more under pressure than him.
"At the end of the match, I started to play much better. but it was too late. My backhand didn't work as good as in the previous rounds. I was a little bit too worried about my backhand, so I was not able to move with the freedom to the forehand."
Federer will fight for the title against defending champion Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final. Four-time champion Djokovic defeated Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 earlier.
"I'm excited about the game against Novak," Federer said. "We've played each other so, so much. I think it's more of a clear game plan. Especially we had a great match against each other in Paris just recently. I hope we can back it up from there."
Two-time winner Nadal, who crushed Federer in straight sets in last month's French Open semifinal, still leads the head-to-head 24-16.
This year final will be the first major final between two of the "Big Three" since Djokovic beat Federer in the 2015 Wimbledon final.