Serena Williams nears 8th Wimbledon title, 24th Slam overall

Germany's Julia Gorges is dejected after losing a point during her women's singles semifinals match against Serena Williams of the United States at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Thursday July 12, 2018.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball to Germany's Julia Gorges during their women's singles semifinals match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Thursday July 12, 2018.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Serena Williams of the US, top, meets Julia Goerges of Germany at the net after defeating her in their women's semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, Pool)
Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia returns a ball to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, Pool)
Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko reacts after losing a point to Germany's Angelique Kerber during their women's singles semifinals match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia returns the ball to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (Neil Hall/Pool via AP)
Angelique Kerber of Germany returns the ball to Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia during their women's semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (Neil Hall/Pool via AP)
Julia Goerges of Germany loses a point to Serena Williams of the US during their women's semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, Pool)
Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball to Germany's Julia Gorges during their women's singles semifinals match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Thursday July 12, 2018.(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Angelique Kerber of Germany returns the ball to Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia during their women's semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP)
Serena Williams of the US serves to Julia Goerges of Germany during their women's semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, Pool)
Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates defeating Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko during their women's singles semifinals match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Serena Williams of the US returns to Julia Goerges of Germany in their women's semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP)
Serena Williams of the United States celebrates breaking serve during her women's singles semifinals match against Germany's Julia Gorges at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Thursday July 12, 2018.(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

LONDON — Yes, this will be Serena Williams' 10th Wimbledon final. Yes, it's her 30th title match at any major. And, well, sure, she's widely regarded as not just the best of her era, but any era.

Let others shrug at this latest accomplishment, as if all it signified were merely another chance at another in a long line of trophies. Williams is not shy about saying she, for one, is impressed by this. Rightly so. For it was only about 10 months ago she was having a baby and then dealing with a serious health scare that followed.

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. Especially at the All England Club, where a relatively routine 6-2, 6-4 victory over 13th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany on Thursday put Williams one win away from an eighth championship.

She's also closing in on her 24th Grand Slam title, which would equal Margaret Court's all-time record.

"A lot of people were saying, 'Oh, she should be in the final,'" the 36-year-old Williams said. "For me it's such a pleasure and a joy because, you know, less than a year ago, I was going through so much stuff."

After hitting five aces with a serve that reached 119 mph, delivering 16 winners to only seven unforced errors, and covering the court so well with speed and effort, Williams will face another German, 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber, on Saturday.

"Whatever happens, honestly," Williams said, "it's an incredible effort from me."

The left-handed Kerber, a former No. 1 and two-time major champion, beat 12th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 earlier Thursday.

"Seeing her back, it's great," said Kerber, who has lost six of eight previous matches against Williams. "I know that she is always pushing you to the limits."

Kerber let 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko determine the outcome of nearly every point. By the end, Ostapenko had far more winners, 30-10, and far more unforced errors, 36-7.

Williams vs. Kerber will be a rematch of the 2016 final. Williams won that for a second consecutive Wimbledon title, then sat out the grass-court tournament last year while pregnant, part of a 16-month gap between majors.

After giving birth to daughter Olympia last September, Williams was treated for blood clots.

"I lost count after, like, four surgeries," said Williams, who has been wearing compression leggings this fortnight as a precaution.

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.

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.

Not even Williams knew.

"This is not inevitable for me. I had a really tough delivery ... and almost didn't make it, to be honest," Williams said. "I remember I couldn't even walk to my mail box, so it's definitely not 'normal' for me to be in a Wimbledon final."

The victory over Goerges extended Williams' winning streak at Wimbledon to 20 matches, dating to the start of the 2015 edition. She's also won her past 15 Grand Slam matches since the start of the 2017 Australian Open, which she won while pregnant.

That title pushed her past Steffi Graf's record of 22 majors in the half-century professional era; Court won some of her Slams during the amateur era.

Williams' match against Goerges was even until 2-all, 30-all. Until then, Goerges, the first seeded player Williams faced these two weeks, showed she was capable of trading power from the baseline and big serves with Williams.

There were moments when watching Goerges made it easy to wonder how it could be possible she never had been past a major's fourth round until now. Or, more to the point on this afternoon, how such a stinging serve and groundstrokes didn't help her avoid first-round exits each of the past five years at Wimbledon.

But she couldn't keep up with Williams, who grabbed 18 of 22 points and five consecutive games to close the first set and begin the next.

"She brings her 'A game' in a lot of important moments," Goerges said. "We saw that she improved every single match she's playing here."

There was one brief blip to come: Williams got broken for the only time while serving for the match at 5-3. Immediately, though, she broke back at love to end it, placing her left fist on her chest when Goerges' last shot landed long.

Later, Williams was asked whether this has been her most trying comeback in a career that's had its share, including an earlier bout with blood clots in her lungs.

"I don't know if it's been the toughest, because I have Olympia. For me, I only see joy out of it," Williams said with a smile. "In a way, it's by far the toughest, but in a way it's by far the best."

___

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

___

More AP tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

You may also interested in

Asian stocks rise after Wall Street gains

Dec 21, 2016

Asian stocks are higher after U.S. stocks rose to record levels despite attacks in Germany and...

China starts 2017 engulfed by smog, issues...

Jan 2, 2017

Beijing and other cities across northern and central China are shrouded in thick smog, prompting...

Asia shares falter as investors watch dollar,...

Jan 6, 2017

Asian shares are wavering as a weaker dollar discourages investors who are shying away from risky...

Chinese factory makes giant inflatable...

Jan 13, 2017

A Chinese factory has been doing a brisk business selling giant inflatable roosters, some as tall...

China aircraft carrier capabilities tested on...

Jan 14, 2017

China's sole aircraft carrier has returned home following a three-week cruise during which its...

About Us

Frontal Report is an emerging leader in all forms of media. We aim to be the leading news brand for readers around the world.

Contact us: sales[at]frontalreport.com

Subscribe Now!