WIMBLEDON, England - He was Michael Jordan hitting jump shots. He was Jack Nicklaus driving golf balls. He was Roger Federer, out of the past and securing a future because he again will be playing in a Wimbledon final.
At 33, Federer served as if he were 23, with 20 aces and a bunch of serves that Andy Murray just couldn't handle. "He served fantastic," an awed Murray said. "I really didn't have any opportunities."
So after his 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 win over Murray on Friday in their semifinal, Federer will face defending champ Novak Djokovic -- who last year beat Federer in five sets -- in Sunday's final. On Friday,, he needed three to beat Richard Gasquet, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4, in the other semifinal.
Djokovic, ranked and seeded No. 1, figures to repeat 2014, but Federer is a seven-time Wimbledon champion playing in his 10th final. He could surprise. He certainly surprised Friday.
"I mean, definitely one of the best matches in my career," said Federer, No. 2 behind Djokovic but without a victory in a Grand Slam event since the 2012 Wimbledon.
Federer is the most popular of all men's players, and the Wimbledon crowd cheered him and Murray, who is from Scotland, equally. Federer was at his best a month from his 34th birthday.
"It was one of the best serving days of my career, for sure," said Federer, whose career includes a record 17 Grand Slam singles titles. "It's an amazing feeling when you come back from the match and everybody's so happy for you, even like inside the Royal Box. When I was walking back, there was applause all the way to the locker room. So I just feel overall people are happy for me."
Djokovic, who has eight major titles -- two of those at Wimbledon -- was happy for himself.
"My biggest motivation is the sport itself," said the 28-year-old. "That's where I find a lot of energy, from the love and passion I have toward playing this sport.
"Roger and I have played many times [Federer has won 20, Djokovic 19; they're 1-1 at Wimbledon]. He's one of my greatest rivals. He's one of the people who actually made me a better player as well. He's so good and so consistent."
Federer returned the praise to Djokovic. "He's had great success, unbelievable success, actually," he said. "Especially the last few years, he's been unbelievably dominant. He's become very match-tough. I think about the match we played against each other here last year."
Murray, a two-time Slam winner, said he was frustrated because he barely got a racket on some of Federer's serves.
"There's been very few players that have been able to do what Federer has done," Murray said. "Obviously, [Andre] Agassi played some great tennis into his 30s. Jimmy Connors is another one that played well late. I don't know if anyone's played as well as Roger at that age. Serena [Williams] on the women's side. They're both great athletes."
Williams, 33, plays Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the women's final Saturday.
Williams, like Federer, serves big. Djokovic handles serves.
"His return is the best," Gasquet said, describing how Djokovic beat him. "That's the best, because he never miss a return. You serve all the time, and the ball is always on your side again."