Djokovic and Federer have looked on top of their grass-court games on their way to the final.
However, he is to have his work cut out for him today if he is to secure a 21st major title, as he trails Djokovic 22-25 in career meetings.
Nadal aimed to hit back immediately when the Swiss double-faulted to set up two break points, but after missing out on the first chance, a 23-shot rally ended when the third seed fired long, Federer holding for a 4-1 edge.
No one else has managed to reduce Federer to midmatch mediocrity quite the way Nadal can on occasion, part of why the Spaniard entered Friday with a 24-15 overall lead head-to-head, including 10-3 at Grand Slam tournaments.
The Spaniard's form had led American great John McEnroe to declare: "You play against a guy like Nadal, he wants to tear your heart out. Just have to accept that was not my day", he said.
"At the beginning of the tournament, I told the people at the locker room, it would be fantastic because, if I win, I will get membership for life", she said. "I think he played aggressive, he played a great match, and just well done for him".
"I am sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity", Nadal said.
Nadal said 37-year-old Federer's qualities remain undimmed and constant.
After edging a tense first set by taking the final five points of the tiebreak, Federer was overpowered in a 36-minute second as Nadal, eyeing a first Wimbledon title for nine years, appeared to have wrestled control.
Typically, Nadal responded in the second, and his decision to stand further back on Federer's serve paid dividends as he broke twice to level it up at one-set all.
Some of that disparity comes from the perception that Federer has had a more hard time on route to the final, however, and that fatigue, therefore, will play its part, but a bigger factor may be their head-to-head record. "It was tough at the end". Instead, the Serb cruised past the Belgian in straight sets and also brushed aside surprise semi-finalist Bautista Agut.
Roger Federer celebrates match point during his match against Rafael Nadal on day 11 at the All England Lawn and Croquet Club.
Both players were absolutely class on the court and following defeat, Nadal once again proved that he's the same off of it too. - Serena Williams, responding to a reporter's question at her post-match news conference.
¯ There is enough time for just one more magical spell from Federer. The legendary narrator and wildlife activist was spotted in the Royal Box for the Federer and Nadal clash.
He won 7-6,1-6,6-3,6-4 to advance to the showpiece event for a record 12th time at SW19.
It will be the 13th time in 17 years that the Wimbledon champion is either Federer or Djokovic. Djokovic went on to win in four sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
¯ Early on Federer was down on break points in a big way, with Nadal capitalizing on two of his four chances to zero out of three for the eight-time champion. I think that's why I was able to produce a good result [against Nadal].
Djokovic pointed to his ear, another message to the crowd, when he lashed a backhand down the line to win a remarkable 45-shot point and save break point in his next service game.