Both Britain's best and one of the greatest ever tennis players both produced exhibition performances on Centre Court today. They faced admirable opponents in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and world number one Novak Djokovic but managed to out-think them and overpower them to set up a historic final meeting. Scot Andy Murray is the first British player to reach the final at the All England Club since 1938 and is hoping to become the first home winner since Fred Perry in 1936. Roger Federer already holds the record amount of Grand Slams at 16 and is one win away from equalling Pete Sampras's highest total of seven Wimbledon titles.
On Sunday they meet for the sixteenth time with the head-to-head record standing at 8-7 in Murray's favour. This is slightly surprising given the record Federer has against most of his competitors. However they are yet to meet on grass and when they do on Sunday it will be in front of their most adoring fans. Murray is the home-favourite while Federer is one of the most majestic players to ever grace the grass courts of London. A win for the Swiss maestro will return him to the top of the world rankings and give him a first major victory since the Australian Open 2010 when he beat Murray in straight sets in the final, while he also brushed aside the Scot in the 2008 US Open final.
World number four Murray has never taken a set in a Grand Slam final, the only man to fail to do so who has reached that stage three times. This time he will feel in confident mood as he will have the crowd behind him and has a winning record over the man on the other side of the net. Murray will probably be hoping for some good weather as the roof appears to help the player who likes to play quick points; the player like the 16-time Grand Slam winner.
Federer was in imperious form today and it was a bit of a shock to see the way he beat defending champion Djokovic in such ease. His serve was precise and powerful as were his ground-strokes as the Serbian number one could not hold on to his serve often enough. Federer was pleased with his performance: "I played a great match. It has been a tough tournament for me. I was able to step it up and get a bit lucky maybe.
Later on on Centre Court the same could not be said of Tsonga as he could not quite cope with Murray's excellent serving and relentless returns. The Frenchman did drag himself back into the match in the third and fourth sets but by then it was a bridge too far. In the end the home player was just too strong: "I feel a bit of relief, excitement, it's tough to explain," said the Scot. "It was such a close match in the end, both of us had chances.
This year's show-piece finale looks like it will be a very tightly-fought contest with Murray hoping to make inroads into the Federer serve that has looked strong. Both players have dropped just four sets so far at this tournament and will both be desperate for a win that will give Murray a first major title and Federer his first for over two years. The Swiss player will rightly go in as favourite although Murray will be sure to provide a stern test. The Centre Court crowd will be behind both of them as they hope for another Wimbledon classic.