Andy Murray became the first British player to reach the men's singles final at Wimbledon since 1938 after a 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The fourth seed looked to be in total control as he went two sets up against his French opponent, but an inspired fightback from Tsonga planted some seeds of doubt among a partisan crowd on Centre Court.
However, Murray struck at the perfect time at the end of the fourth set to finally progress beyond the All England Club semi-finals at his fourth attempt.
Murray will now have to beat six-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer on Sunday if he is to become Britain's first men's champion since Fred Perry 76 years ago.
Murray certainly did not look to be feeling the pressure as he made a blistering start.
A backhand down the line secured a break of serve at the earliest opportunity, with the slow-starting Frenchman not in the contest at all until he forced Murray to save two break points in the fifth game.
Murray came through the nervy period to round out the set with ease, a sublime crosscourt forehand winner on the run the highlight of his early display.
Tsonga managed to get a foothold early in the second set but two brilliant returns produced a break point in the fourth game, which Murray took when his opponent hooked a forehand wide.
With the home favourite imperious on serve - he lost just two points all set while starting the rallies - Tsonga could find no way to shift the pressure onto Murray.
And although the 27-year-old did not drop another service game for the rest of the second set, Murray had no trouble wrapping things up to take a stranglehold on the match.
Prior to the third set Tsonga left the court to receive treatment from the trainer and the break seemed to have reinvigorated him as the fifth seed broke to love in the second game of the third set.
A more tentative Murray was not able to turn the tables for the rest of the set and Tsonga, who time and again showed fantastic touch at the net, wrapped things up when the world number four netted a backhand.
Tsonga then again left the court after being struck by the ball in the previous game, but Murray was in a much more competitive mood at the start of the fourth set, a spectacular string of shots earning him a break in the fourth game.
But the Frenchman responded with some eye-catching winners of his own to fashion two break points in the next game, the second of which he took when Murray was made to pay for a weak second serve.
Each player then managed to save two crucial break points in the eighth and ninth games respectively, but Murray pounced in the 12th to wrap up an historic victory.