A third Wimbledon crown is not in the offing for Rafael Nadal this year after the 36-year-old Spaniard decided to pull out of the tournament with an abdominal injury on Thursday, just a day before he was to face Australian Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals.
Nadal's withdrawal, which thrusts 27-year-old Kyrgios into a maiden Grand Slam decider, puts an end to his chase for a rare calendar-year Grand Slam as well as the opportunity for a grass-court clash against his career-long rival Novak Djokovic.
Kyrgios will take on either top seed Djokovic, who is bidding for a fourth straight and seventh overall title on the manicured lawns of Wimbledon, or local hope Cameron Norrie, who meet in the remaining semifinal on Friday.
Two-time champion Nadal was apparently haunted by physical frailties during his grueling five-set win against American Taylor Fritz on Wednesday and indicated afterwards that he was unsure over his ongoing participation in the tournament.
Earlier, Tunisian Ons Jabeur got past close friend Tatjana Maria 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in the semifinals and she will face another player making her major final debut, No. 17 seed Elena Rybakina, for the championship.
"I'm a proud Tunisian woman standing here," said Jabeur, who was the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final in the Open era.
Russian-born Rybakina, representing Kazakhstan, knocked out 2019 champion Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 in a match lasting just 76 minutes on Centre Court, making her the first player from Kazakhstan to reach a major final.
Former world number one Halep had not lost a set coming into Thursday's match but was immediately under pressure against the 17th seed.
The first trophy of this year's Wimbledon was handed out on Thursday night to Britain's Neal Skupski and American Desirae Krawczyk as they retained their Wimbledon mixed doubles title with a straight-set victory over Australian duo Matthew Ebden and Sam Stosur.
They are the first pair to defend the title since Czech brother and sister Cyril Suk and Helena Sukova in 1997.
(With input from AFP)