Serena Williams demonstrated that having a baby had not robbed her of any of her phenomenal tennis skills when she became the first mother in 38 years to reach the Wimbledon final, with a 6-2 6-4 demolition of Germany's Julia Goerges on Thursday. She needed just one.
After hitting five aces with a serve that reached 119 miles per hour, delivering 16 winners to only seven unforced errors, and covering the court so well with speed and effort against Goerges, Williams will face another German, 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber, on Saturday.
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"I want to be around as long as I can to support her". Her first Grand Slam tournament back was the French Open, where she won three matches before withdrawing last month because of an injured chest muscle. She's also won her past 15 Grand Slam matches, going to the start of the 2017 Australian Open, which she won while pregnant. Goerges, reduced to hit 13% of her groundstrokes inside the baseline, much less than the average 37% registered in their previous rounds, had to survive a huge, constant pressure from the back and her hopes to play the second all-German major final (Aussem won the only previous one at 1931 Wimbledon over Kranwinkel) faded. So I remember I couldn't even walk to my mailbox, so it's definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final. "So do I", Williams said. Every day I had to have a new surgery, and it was because all of the blood issues I have, I was really touch and go for a minute ...
She told BBC Sport: 'It's insane, I don't even know how to feel.
Williams is playing an extremely high level of tennis, and that she's doing so just months after her return from giving birth to her first child is simply remarkable.
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The German attacked the biggest chink in Ostapenko's armour - her second serve, which is weak and ineffectual.
"Whatever happens, honestly", Williams said, "it's an incredible effort from me". Making her 18th main draw appearance at the All England Club, Williams continued her bid to win her eighth Wimbledon singles title, joining Helen Wills-Moody: in the Open Era, only Martina Navratilova has won more (nine titles).
"She's playing so well".
"Yeah, I think she is coming back, for sure". But there is no statistic fantastic enough to convey the implausibility of the outcome - a 6-2, 6-4 win over Goerges that at once felt predetermined, yet unthinkable just a short time ago.
In the week leading up to her first-round match against Viktoriya Tomova, Williams posted a daily countdown on Instagram that included flashback Wimbledon photos and uplifting sentiments.
"Oh, wow. I never thought about that". "It's by far the toughest", she said.