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It also offers the returning legend the chance to match Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles just 10 months after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia.

She is now set to face Angelique Kerber, who defeated Jeena Ostapenko in the other semi-final, in a replay of the 2016 Wimbledon final.

Angelique Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open and U.S. Open victor, beat 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in Thursday's early semifinal.

It's nearly as if Serena Williams never left. When serving for the match, Williams fell behind 0-40, and Goerges broke on her third opportunity with a flashing forehand, slammed deep into the far corner. "I had a really tough delivery and I had to have multiple surgeries and almost didn't make it when I gave birth", the champion said. Kerber's victories came in the Cincinnati quarterfinals in 2012 and in the 2016 Australian Open final, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 - the only match the pair have played that has gone to a deciding set.

Williams' match against Goerges was even until 2-all, 30-all. The German spent 10 hours on court en route to her first Grand Slam semifinal, the most by over two hours of any player left in the draw, and hit a tournament-leading 44 aces surpassing the 300-ace threshold for the second consecutive season.

All of the time away pushed someone who's spent more than 300 weeks ranked No 1 down the rankings - she began Wimbledon at 181st, but was seeded 25th on account of her past success - and no one could quite be sure how the American would fare over these two weeks. It was tough. There was a time where I could barely walk to my mailbox.

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She double-faulted on set point and Kerber, who served well and defended superbly when required to fend off Ostapenko's sporadic attacks, accelerated into a 5-1 lead.

"Whatever happens, honestly it's an incredible effort from me. and good motivation to keep going for the rest of my career", Williams added. "It's not inevitable for me to be playing like this".

"A lot of people were saying, 'Oh, she should be in the final, '" the 36-year-old Williams said.

After advancing, she summed up her feelings in brief caption along with a photo of herself celebrating during her semifinal win over Julia Gorges: "Can't help but smile".

"I want to be around as long as I can to support her".

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. "I didn't know I would have such traumatic thoughts".