After giving birth to her daughter, Olympia, on September 1, Williams dealt with health complications that included blood clots and led to what she said were multiple operations.
Even after all of that, even after more than a year away from the game, even in only the fourth tournament of her comeback, Williams showed she's still capable of dominance. "Physically I was surprised just how much of my core strength I had lost", she said. I had to have multiple surgeries and nearly didn't make it to be honest. I don't think Serena is the greatest mover on the court, and that is how Camila Giorgi took her to the limit.
Williams was in control from the outset against 13th seed Gorges, who was making her Grand Slam semi-final debut. Ostapenko: Winners (30), Unforced Errors (36); Kerber: Winners (10), Unforced Errors (7). I can see it going a little like their 2016 match at Wimbledon where it's tight in the beginning, but Serena wins in straight sets.
The German attacked the biggest chink in Ostapenko's armour - her second serve, which is weak and ineffectual.
Safely through to her 10th Wimbledon final, and 30th in majors, Williams was back giving the crowd a one-arm raised victory twirl after her opponent swiped a lob behind the baseline. In the quarter-finals, she dropped the first set against Camilia Giorgi, ranked No.52, and had not faced a seed until playing the 13th-seeded Goerges.
"I had a really tough pregnancy delivery".
Unbeaten here since 2014, Williams is on a 20-match winning streak on the lawns and is moving as smoothly and striking the ball as crisply and as powerfully as at any time in her career. But Williams said that she had not been thinking about it here.
"For me, having to deal with PEs is more mentally challenging because if I have a pain in my leg, I automatically go to the worst-case scenario", she said.
In the first semi-final, Kerber, the highest seed remaining at No.11, was much too steady and resourceful for another power player, 21-year-old Jelena Ostapenko.
"I had age [in common with Williams] and a C-section, and I certainly wasn't coming back to play tennis", said Shriver, who's at Wimbledon as an ESPN analyst. This is the same player who won her last Grand Slam title while she knew she was eight weeks pregnant, not dropping a set.
"This is not inevitable for me".
But, at a time when so many of her peers have long since retired, Williams is still pushing her body through the gruelling hours of training and practice required to repel the challenge from players often half her age. 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. I don't know because the body's holding up and the desire is there.
In the first set, the experienced Kerber broke twice while the only break point Ostapenko earned was when she was leading 3-2. 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.