Federer upsets Djokovic, reaches record eighth Wimbledon final

The great Roger Federer displayed his grass-court prowess once again by dethroning defending champion Novak Djokovic in the first men's semifinal Friday at Wimbledon.

The 30-year-old Federer will now appear in a men's-record eighth Wimbledon final, seeking a record-tying seventh championship.

The third-seeded former world No. 1 Federer drove out the reigning top-ranked star Djokovic in four sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, under the roof on Centre Court at the All England Club, as rain fell on Day 11, prompting officials to close the translucent covering over tennis' most-famous stage.

Federer's opponent in Sunday's lucrative final will be fourth-seeded heavy British favorite Andy Murray or fifth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who stunned Federer in a quarterfinal here last year.

Behind an impeccable serve, Federer had an easy time of it in the first set, which he took control of with a break in the sixth game. He lost the first two points of the game, but then won four in a row and took a 4-2 lead when Djokovic fired a backhand into the net. Federer finished the first set with an easy love hold.

Djokovic, however, bounced back quickly. He broke Federer in the second game of the second set and held the rest of the way, closing it out with an ace for a love service game of his own.

The pivotal third set, however, was the turning point, and Federer prevailed to stun the champ.

The sixth game of the third stanza was the game of the match, full of long, splendid rallies, showing why these two men have enjoyed so much success on the ATP World Tour.

Djokovic wound up holding serve in that game, which featured a brilliant 26- shot point at one point.

But four games later, a vintage Federer got the key break of the match by capping another high-quality rally with an overhead smash winner for a 6-4 set win. The super Swiss could see the finish line from there.

The fourth set was all Federer, as he broke Djokovic again for a 2-0 lead and did not look back after that. The set stayed on serve, and Federer closed it out in the ninth game of the stanza by converting on his first match point when a defeated Djokovic netted a forehand return. The Serb could manage only one break of serve all day, compared to three key ones for the winner.

Djokovic had trouble with his footing all match long, and didn't appear to be his usual high-energy self from the outset.

An ultra-clean Federer advanced in 2 hours, 19 minutes, swatting 12 aces and committing zero double faults. He wound up with only 10 unforced errors, compared to 21 for the loser from Serbia.

"I was able to play some fantastic tennis today," Federer said. "I hope I can play a good match on Sunday."

Oddly enough, this marked the first-ever meeting between Djokovic and Federer on grass.

The six-time champion Federer, who is now 8-0 in his career Wimbledon semifinals, can regain the No. 1 ranking with a big title on Sunday.

The super Swiss will appear in a men's-record 24th Grand Slam final, looking to add to his record 16 titles.

Djokovic and Federer met for a 27th time, and the Swiss icon now leads their all-time series 15-12. Djokovic had won six of their last seven meetings.

Federer is now 6-5 in their career Grand Slam encounters, including 1-0 at Wimbledon.

The amazing Federer appeared in a record 32nd Grand Slam semifinal, as he passed Jimmy Connors for that distinction on Friday. And only Connors (84) and Boris Becker (71) have won more matches than Federer (65) on the hallowed lawns in this London suburb.

The Swiss legend, who reached seven straight Wimbledon finals from 2003-09, is still seeking his first Grand Slam title since the 2010 Australian Open. In addition to his six titles here, Federer was the 2008 Wimbledon runner-up to Rafael Nadal.

The 25-year-old Djokovic, who had been an astounding 32-1 over his last five majors and 44-2 over his last seven Grand Slams, reached his first-ever Wimbledon final and captured his first-ever title here with a victory over Nadal a year ago.

The Belgrade native still holds the Aussie Open and U.S. Open titles. He had won four of the last six majors.

Djokovic, playing in his ninth straight Grand Slam semifinal, fell to 8-8 in his career major semis.

The Basel native Federer will appear in his 106th career final, seeking a 75th title. Only Connors (109), Ivan Lendl (94) and John McEnroe (77) have won more.

Federer's Wimbledon titles came from 2003-2007 and again in 2009.

Sunday's champion will pocket $1.8 million.