WIMBLEDON, England -- For Roger Federer, it's Wimbledon final No. 8.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion beat last year's winner Novak Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 Friday under the roof on Centre Court to reach a modern-era record eighth final at the All England Club. He is now one victory from equaling Pete Sampras' record of seven titles.
"I have one more match to go. I'm aware of that," said the 30-year-old Federer, who is 6-1 in Wimbledon finals. "Still, it's always nice beating someone like Novak, who has done so well here last year, the last couple years."
If he defeats Andy Murray or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Sunday's final, Federer will take the No. 1 ranking from Djokovic and equal Sampras' record of 286 weeks as the top-ranked player.
Murray and Tsonga were playing in the other semifinal on Centre Court. Neither has won a Grand Slam title; Federer is aiming for his 17th in his 24th major final.
"There's obviously a lot on the line for me in terms of winning here, the all-time Grand Slam record, world No. 1," Federer said. "I'm also going into that match with some pressure, but I'm excited about it. That's what I play for."
Federer and Djokovic went for winners on almost every point. But it was Federer who got the key points when they mattered in the third set.
"It's hard to fire bullets the whole time, so you try to also find some range. If he tees off first, it's hard to defend obviously," said Federer, who is now 1-0 against Djokovic on grass. "It's just not as easy to take that many balls out and come up with amazing shots time and time again. That's why I kept on attacking."
At 4-4, Djokovic had his chance with only his third break point of the match. Federer held with three service winners.
Moments later, while serving to stay in the set - and, essentially, the match_ Djokovic gifted Federer a pair of break points by blasting an overhead long with much of the court open. He saved one, but Federer's overhead smash on the second gave the Swiss great the third set, and put him on the way to the final.
"(I) had unfortunately a bad service game on 5-4, and obviously he uses his opportunities when they're presented," said Djokovic, who had reached the last four major finals. "So you have to be always consistent. I wasn't."
The win improved Federer's semifinal record at the All England Club to 8-0. His only loss in the final came in 2008, when Rafael Nadal beat him 9-7 in the fifth set.
"I hope I can keep my nerves," Federer said, looking to the final. "I'm sure I can. Then hopefully win the match. But we'll see about that."
William Renshaw and Arthur Gore also played in eight Wimbledon finals, but that was when the defending champion received a bye into the following year's final. That rule was changed in 1922. Renshaw won seven titles and Gore three.
On Friday, Federer earned the only break of the first set to take the lead, and Djokovic returned the favor in the second set to even the score.
The third set turned out to be decisive, and Djokovic fought to stay in it right from the start. After holding easily, Federer gained a break point when Djokovic sent a forehand long. Although the Serb saved it, and eventually held to 1-1, it was the beginning of the end for him.
The next three games went quickly and on serve, but Federer then earned a pair of break points in the sixth game. Djokovic again saved them, the first after a 24-stroke rally that ended with Federer's forehand going wide.
"He was the better player. In the important moments he was aggressive, hitting from both sides," Djokovic said. "Obviously, that's what you expect when you play against Roger at the final four of a Grand Slam. I knew that."