LONDON (CNN) – Serena Williams continued her fairytale comeback from maternity leave as she defeated Julia Goerges on Thursday to reach her 10th Wimbledon final.
Playing in only her second grand slam event since giving birth 10 months ago, the American struck 16 winners and had just seven unforced errors as she defeated the 13th-seeded German 6-2 6-4 on Centre Court. Williams next faces the former top-ranked Angelique Kerber in the final as she bids for an eighth Wimbledon title to tie Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles.
Germany’s Kerber dominated former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the other semifinal match. In the 2016 Wimbledon final, Williams toppled Kerber in straight sets. “It’s crazy, I don’t even know how to feel, because I literally didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back,” Williams said in a televised interview.
Williams gave birth to a baby girl, Alexis Olympia, in September. “I had a really tough delivery,” she explained. “I had to have multiple surgeries, and almost didn’t make it to be honest. I remember, I couldn’t even walk to my mailbox. It’s definitely not normal for me to be back in the Wimbledon finals. I’m taking everything as it is and just enjoying every moment.”
Williams is the world No. 181, but was given a protected seeding of No. 25 by tournament organizers due to her pedigree, and is two titles shy of Martina Navratilova’s all-time women’s singles record at the All England Club.
Kerber neutralized the booming groundstrokes of Ostapenko to reach her second Wimbledon final. The former top-ranked German didn’t drop a set against the Latvian, winning 6-3 6-3 in 68 minutes on Centre Court. “She’s clearly a really good grasscourt player, and she’s been going in the draw really well,” said Williams about Kerber.
“I’ve been watching her matches. I love watching her play and I’ll get to play her now,” Williams added. “Whatever happens, honestly, it’s an incredible effort for me and just good motivation to keep going for the rest of my career.”
Kerber, who beat Williams in the final of the 2016 Australian Open, is ready for a tough match. “I know that I have to play my best, best tennis to beat her, especially on the grass, on the Centre Court, where she won so many titles here,” Kerber said in a news conference.
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