LONDON -- All fortnight Wimbledon had been abuzz with talk of young guns and future stars -- the teens and barely 20-somethings who brandished the big serves and go-for-broke tactics.
But just as it seemed a new world order was at hand in men's tennis, top-seeded Novak Djokovic and grass-court master Roger Federer reared up to snuff out any thought of insurrection and secure spots in Sunday's championship.
It will be their 35th career meeting (Federer holds an 18-16 edge) but only their second on grass, reprising a 2012 Wimbledon semifinal that Federer won in four sets.
And it ensures that a member of the sport's "big four" -- Federer, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, who have combined to win 17 of the last 18 Grand Slam titles -- will extend their chokehold on the sport's chief spoils.
"It was always going to be hard to get rid of all four guys at the same time, let's just be honest," said Federer, asked about the changing-of-the guard that was held at bay Friday.
Djokovic, 27, Wimbledon's 2011 champion and last year's runner-up, was first to secure his spot in Sunday's final, defeating Grigor Dimitrov, the 23-year-old Bulgarian who had humbled defending champion Murray in straight sets one round earlier.
In a muscular match that saw both players lose their footing multiple times on bare patches along the baselines, Djokovic prevailed, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (7), to reach his third Wimbledon final in the last four years.
With a victory Sunday, the Serb would overtake Nadal as No. 1 in the world. Moreover, he'd snap an unhappy pattern of reaching Grand Slam finals only to stumble.
"It's mental in the end of the day," said Djokovic, who hired three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker to help improve his winning percentage in Grand Slam finals. "You have to be able to be in the top of your game, mentally fresh and motivated, calm and composed."
Federer, 32, was even more efficient in dispatching 23-year-old Milos Raonic, the 6-foot-5 Canadian whose serve had felled the 19-year-old phenom, Nick Kyrgios, who ousted world No. 1 Nadal in the previous round.
At an age when many pros have retired, Federer, who has won a men's record 17 Grand Slam titles and is seeking his eighth at Wimbledon, has played these last two weeks as if reborn.
He entered Friday's semifinal having lost his serve just once all tournament. And he kept that record intact against Raonic, cruising to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory that was never in doubt, breaking one of the sport's biggest servers in the opening game.
Though Raonic finished with 17 aces to Federer's six, it was Federer who dictated with his serve.
"My game's back to where I hoped it would be, from one year ago," said Federer, whose last Grand Slam was here on Centre Court in 2012.
"Just seeing Roger around, seeing his persona, his aura -- you know that a lot of people could have, and have, written him off in a lot of ways," Raonic said, "(but) you knew this was very (possible) for him."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.