Novak Djokovic will go in search of his ninth grand slam title on Sunday after beating Richard Gasquet to reach the final at Wimbledon.
The imperious Novak Djokovic is just one victory away from retaining his Wimbledon title after seeing off Richard Gasquet in straight sets on Friday.
The world number one clinically ended the stylish Gasquet's hopes of featuring in a first grand slam final with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-4 win in a high quality semi-final on Centre Court.
Defending champion Djokovic will face either Roger Federer on Andy Murray in what promises to be an epic final on Sunday as he attempts to win his ninth grand slam title - and a third at the All England Club.
Gasquet showed his class in a valiant display, with some sublime trademark backhands in a match that was not as one-sided as the score might suggest, but it was an all-too familiar story for the Frenchman as he suffered a third grand slam semi-final defeat.
The world number 20 lost at the semi-final stage eight years ago at SW19 and suffered more anguish in south-west London as top seed Djokovic improved his record over the 29-year-old to 12 victories and just one defeat - which came back in 2007.
Gasquet gave an early demonstration of his elegant backhand in the second game, but was unable to avoid going 2-0 down as Djokovic ominously broke courtesy of some ferocious groundstrokes.
The underdog looked to be up against it, but hit back immediately when he was gifted two break points by the top seed and took the second in style with another classy backhand before holding to level at 2-2.
Gasquet was brimming with confidence as he conjured up yet another sublime backhand winner down the line, but Djokovic held to edge back in front in a fifth game featuring a thrilling rally won by the defending champion.
Although Gasquet continued to thrill the crowd, he missed a routine smash which would have put him 30-0 love up on the Djokovic serve when the pair were locked at 4-4 and the Serb went on to hold.
Gasquet held his nerve when serving to stay in the set, but was on the back foot at 4-2 down in the tie-break when a loose shot landed long and Djokovic went on to go a set up.
Djokovic was eager to press home his advantage and came up with a stunning passing forehand winner to break in the opening game of the second set.
The Australian Open champion conjured up an even better cross-court winner at full stretch on the run two games later, then had another break point, but Gasquet denied him a 3-0 lead.
Gasquet had Djokovic under pressure at 15-40, but was unable to break back as Djokovic took a 3-1 advantage.
The Frenchman continued to come up with some breathtaking winners, but failed to prevent Djokovic from taking a two-set lead after the latter had called for treatment on his left shoulder.
Any hopes of a Gasquet fightback looked slim at best when he sent a backhand into the tramlines to go a break down at 2-1 in the third set.
There was concern for the tournament favourite when he fell awkwardly, but no damage appeared to be done as he soon had two match points on the Gasquet serve.
Gasquet stood firm, but his impressive tournament was ended when Djokovic brought up another three match points with an ace and put his opponent out of his misery with a forehand winner.