By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon
Nadal also beat Djokovic in last month's French Open semi-finals
Second seed Rafael Nadal reached the Wimbledon final for the second year in a row when injury forced semi-final opponent Novak Djokovic to pull out.
Nadal will meet Roger Federer in a repeat of last year's final after the Swiss beat Richard Gasquet.
Djokovic had taken the first set against Nadal on Court One but did not look fully fit after a tough week.
And when Nadal moved 3-6 6-1 4-1 in front, fourth seed Djokovic pulled out with a foot problem.
"It's a very disappointing way to finish the biggest tournament, for me, but I had to retire because I wanted to avoid forcing the injury and making it worse," said Djokovic.
"It's not just a blister, it's a big infection from yesterday's match and I didn't sleep during the night because there was a lot of bleeding. I was barely walking this morning.
"It was not only that, it was also my back which was a problem in the last couple of days and basically my whole body. I'm really tired and exhausted."
Nadal said: "I'm sorry for him, he arrived in the semi-finals playing good tennis.
I have to say that I'm really not happy with the way they dealt with the schedule and the rain
"I was practising bad beforehand in the warm-up so I started without confidence, but I kept improving and improving.
"He had his problem and I hit the ball so much better after the first set. It was important to have the break in the first game of the second set, it decided the match maybe."
With two players not renowned for their speed between points it was not a huge surprise that the first game took nine minutes, with Nadal missing three break points.
Less predictable was that Nadal would then drop serve immediately and he could not claw his way back as Djokovic took the first set.
The Spaniard's fighting qualities are well known, though, and he took a grip of the second by moving to the net and thumping away a smash on break point in game two.
With Djokovic visibly struggling after spending almost 10 hours on court in the last two days, Nadal broke again for a 5-1 lead and served out to level.
The trainer was then called to attend to Djokovic's toe and although the Serbian battled on, when he slipped a double break down in the third he called it a day.
Djokovic repeated his criticism from earlier in the week over how the scheduling was handled during the weather delays.
"I have to say that I'm really not happy with the way they dealt with the schedule and the rain, really not happy," said the Serb.
"But what can you do? I hope things will change in the future."