Seven-time champion Roger Federer produced a brilliant performance to beat Britain's Andy Murray and reach his 10th Wimbledon final.
The Swiss, 33, served superbly to win 7-5 7-5 6-4 and goes on to face world number one Novak Djokovic in a repeat of last year's final.
Second seed Federer faced one break point, in the first game of the match.
Murray, seeded third, must now turn his attention to Britain's Davis Cup tie against France in London next week.
The Scot's hopes of landing a second Wimbledon title were undone by a breathtaking exhibition of serving in particular, with Federer dropping just 21 points on serve over two hours and seven minutes.
"He served fantastic, apart from the first game where I had the chance there," said Murray.
"I didn't really have any opportunities. That puts pressure on you. The pressure builds throughout the set that way.
"I obviously got broken right at the end all of the sets but didn't actually play a bad match. I played pretty well."
Federer will contest his 26th Grand Slam final on Sunday, when he will look to win an 18th major title and become the first man in history to win Wimbledon eight times.
The Swiss said: "It's been tough. Andy's been playing well this season. There's so much expectation riding on it, you just have to focus for one more game, and then one more game. You think the break will come.
"I expected four or five sets. I played so well on the biggest occasion today.
"My serve was good again, against one of the best returners. I kept the pressure up and was able to mix it up. It worked out well."
Murray, urged on by his family and support team in the stands, and with the likes of Bjorn Borg, Sir Alex Ferguson and Prince Andrew watching from the royal box, simply could not lay a glove on Federer.
An early break point was snuffed out by a Federer serve and Murray would not get another chance as the Swiss fired down 20 aces with a first-serve percentage that hovered around the 80% mark for much of the match.
Murray kept him at bay with some good serving of his own but after the Scot saved a set point with a forehand pass, Federer converted his second opportunity with a dipping backhand.
The pressure increased further early in the second set as Murray's hopes already appeared to be on the line, and he was relieved to see Federer guide a backhand just wide on break point.
When the hour mark passed, Federer had missed just 10 of 50 first serves, and it was a testament to how well Murray was playing that he managed to stay with the Swiss as the second set developed.
There was no better example than the 10th game, a gripping contest within a contest that saw Murray fend off five break points in a passage of play that electrified the Centre Court crowd and lasted 14 minutes.
It seemed as though Murray had given his hopes a major boost but Federer swept through his next service game and then played a brilliant point to convert his sixth set point at the net in Murray's next service game.
There was no let-up in the third as Federer refused to offer a glimmer of hope and, with Murray serving to stay in the match, the Swiss played a fabulous backhand winner and a stinging return.
Facing match point, Murray could only send a forehand into the tram lines to end one of the most complete performances even Federer has produced on Centre Court.