Remarkably, the only Wimbledon semi-final that has ever been longer in the tournament's history was the first this year, between John Isner and Kevin Anderson.
Nadal saved a match point in the 16th game of the final set, but Djokovic eventually mustered the strength to win the match 10-8 in the fifth set after an astonishing five hours and 17 minutes.
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The remarkable match between two of the men's game's legendary players began on Friday evening after the outcome of Anderson's win over Isner and had to be halted after 11pm after Djokovic had taken the third set on a breathtaking tie-break.
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Nadal roared out of the blocks as play resumed in place of the women's final as the first match of the day on Saturday and the Spaniard levelled up the match after taking the fourth set.
But Djokovic composed himself once more and ensured that his opponent's momentum was stalled as the deciding set turned into yet another marathon.
The three-time champion had a tiny bit more than Nadal at the end and grabbed the crucial break of serve at 9-8 up to close out another phenomenal match.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia leaves Centre Court after his Men's Singles semi-final match against Rafael Nadal
Image credit: Getty Images
"I mean, it's hard to pick the words, I am just going through things that flashback - the last 15 months, everything I have been through to get here, to win against the best player in the world in one of the longest matches I ever played. I am overwhelmed," an emotional Djokovic told the BBC.
"Very special. It really could have gone either way. It was clear very few things separated the two players. Until the last shot I didn't know if I was going to win. I believed it, but he was very close. These kind of matches you live for and work for."
The Serb will now take on South Africa's Anderson in Sunday's showpiece - his fifth final at SW19 - with both players having to recover from their epic last-four clashes.
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