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Next up is a familiar opponent in Serena Williams, a woman who has every shot in the book and the experience to also adapt her game to her opponent.

"I had to have multiple surgeries, and I nearly didn't make it, to be honest, " Williams said of her post-delivery trauma.

Before this Wimbledon began, the ESPN analyst Chris Evert, who won 18 major titles herself, said she was surprised that motherhood hadn't "taken the edge away a little bit" for Serena "because I know when I had my first child, I just didn't want to do anything else in life". "I lost count after, like, four surgeries because I was in so many surgeries", Williams said. I had multiple surgeries and almost didn't make it when I gave birth.

She's also closing in on her 24th Grand Slam title, which would equal Margaret Court's all-time record. Along the way she has seen off the entire careers of world-class players.

Serena Williams will face 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber, on Saturday.

"It's no secret I had a super tough delivery".

She had won all the grand slam singles and women's doubles trophies at least twice, but she decided she wanted another challenge and stuck by that choice even though the complications after her caesarean section made a return to the circuit all the more hard.

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"It was just routine every day, I had to have a new surgery. Sometimes in the match that happens because I really want to hit a victor, I want to win the point". I can't say it's not.

The first of the two matches on Centre Court seemed to hold more promise given the contrasting styles of the two players. Especially now that I have a daughter, I want to be around as long as I can to support her. But unlike in the quarterfinals, when she needed seven match points to win, this time it required only two, with the match ending - fittingly enough - on a forehand by Ostapenko that sailed wide. "Otherwise, I think she's not only defensive player, she can hit winners, as well". The fact is, grass forces Kerber to do exactly what she needs to do in order to play her best tennis: be aggressive. She's now made the final in two of the last three years.

The former world number one then capitalised on more poor play from Ostapenko, breaking her serve at the first time of asking in the second set and again in the sixth game.

Once criticised by some for making the women's game predictable with her dominance, Williams has won people over by sharing her vulnerabilities and now stands close to a fairytale ending.

Williams was bedridden for six weeks after the birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, in September previous year following an emergency caesarean section. She was ranked No. 1 when she took her maternity leave and was ranked 183rd in the world after returning to the tour in March.

"She's carrying a message and on a platform that is so much bigger than a tournament or a sport, " said Jill Smoller, her long-time agent.