American Andy Roddick ended Briton Andy Murray's Wimbledon dream on Friday by winning their men's semi-final 6-4 4-6 7-6 7-6.
Third seed Murray was bidding to become the first British man since Bunny Austin in 1938 to advance to the Wimbledon men's final.
Roddick began in typical fashion with two aces in the opening game. And the American immediately took Murray to deuce only to see two aces flying past him.
The Scot unsurprisingly looked a little nervous, and Roddick showed his phenomenal serve was working well by sending down the fastest delivery of the tournament at 143mph.
Murray was struggling to find his first serve but his prowess off the ground kept him out of trouble as he made it 3-3 with a classy volley.
The 22-year-old was making more errors than usual, perhaps feeling the occasion, and he found himself set point down serving at 4-5 thanks to a lovely Roddick drop shot.
And the sixth seed took advantage of his first chance with a cross-court forehand that forced Murray to net.
Murray took a comfort break and came back with a newly-aggressive attitude, two forehand passes and a winner down the line giving him three break points, and he took the first one when Roddick netted a forehand.
The crowd were engaged now and three consecutive aces helped the British number one consolidate the break.
Murray's first-serve percentage in the opening set was less than 50% but suddenly the aces were flying off his racquet as he easily kept his opponent at bay.
A nervy service game at 4-3, in which the third seed was taken to deuce, hinted at a chance for Roddick but Murray held firm.
And serving for the set he was rock solid, although the first serve again let him down, as he took it 6-4 to level the match.
The third set began in identical fashion to the second as Murray, with the help of a lucky net cord, moved to 0-40 on the Roddick serve.
But this time the American came up with the goods, a superb lunging volley at 30-40 denying his opponent a second break of serve.
Murray's first-serve percentage had again dropped below 50% and he found himself at 15-40 in the fourth game. A stunning backhand lob saved the first break point, and it was his best shot - a backhand down the line - that came to the rescue on the second.
Roddick really was playing well, though, and, although a Murray ace saved a third break point, a disappointing forehand that dropped long gave the sixth seed the advantage.
The 22-year-old Murray was clearly frustrated and he was warned for an audible obscenity, something he disputed strongly with the umpire.
Two backhand winners took Murray to deuce in the seventh game but more brilliant serving from Roddick took him to 5-2.
The Scot sensed his chance, though, and, when Roddick served for the set at 5-3, he pounced, winning the first three points and then taking his second break point.
An ace saw Murray level at 5-5 and two games later came the first tie-break of the match.
The pair traded mini-breaks early on but two aces from the third seed took him to set point.
Roddick saved that one, and Murray did likewise on his own serve, but a wayward forehand gave the American a chance on his serve and he took an epic set 9-7 when the Scot netted.
Murray did not let the disappointment of losing the third set affect him at the start of the fourth, although he was taken to deuce in the fifth game.
He matched that in Roddick's next service game but could not force a break point and for the second time in the match he smashed his racquet on the net in frustration.
A break point did come in the eighth game, though, when Roddick volleyed long, but the American saved it in immaculate fashion.
The sixth seed was still serving at 75% of first serves in and he held firm to set up a second tie-break.
There were signs of fatigue in the Murray game, and a weak forehand gave Roddick the first mini-break.
The British number one hung in there with a backhand pass onto the side-line but a backhand that missed by a fraction set up a first match point for Roddick on his serve.
Murray spectacularly saved that with another backhand pass but he could not save a second on his own serve, and a backhand into the net gave Roddick a 6-4 4-6 7-6 (9/7) 7-6 (7/5) victory and a place in the Wimbledon final for a third time.Reuse content