Andy Murray's bid to become Britain's first men's singles champion at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936 ended in disappointment as Roger Federer landed a record-equalling seventh title.
Despite making an ideal start by taking the opening set of the final, Murray's performance level dropped after Federer got back to one apiece against the run of play and Federer was unrelenting as he clinched a 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 triumph on Centre Court.
It was a momentous win for Federer, who tied Pete Sampras with seven Wimbledon titles and extended his overall grand slam record to 17 and on Monday he will return to the top of the rankings for the first time since May 2010, replacing Novak Djokovic, and will be only the second man, after Andre Agassi, to be ranked number one in his thirties.
Murray was aggressive from the first point and Federer was making simple errors and it cost him as a forehand volley over the baseline handed Murray a break in the opening game.
Federer quickly settled and took his chance to level at 2-2, drawing a backhand error from Murray.
The Swiss forced two break points in the eighth game but Murray held firm, finding the corner with a pinpoint volley on the second, and he got his rewards in the next game when he drilled a shot right at Federer's head, and broke to lead 5-4 when his opponent netted a forehand. The crowd were on their feet, and the home hope served it out confidently.
Federer is not the most successful grand slam player for nothing and, with Murray serving at 6-5 behind, he forced a set point. The Swiss usually lifts his game at such moments and he did so again, playing a perfect point, finishing it with a sublime drop volley.
Rain forced the players off a 1-1 in the third and the players returned after the roof was closed but Murray was not helped by two heavy falls in the sixth game. The second gave Federer a break point and, although Murray saved that one, the pressure was relentless and on his sixth chance of an epic game, the Swiss broke through.
The Scot threw everything at his opponent when he served for the set but it was not enough and Federer held to go two sets to one in front.
And his hopes took another huge blow when Federer broke again to lead 3-2, nailing an imperious backhand pass that left Murray rooted to the spot and the Swidd held to claim the title.