WIMBLEDON, England — Ten and a half months after giving birth to her daughter, Serena Williams is in the final of Wimbledon.
Williams defeated Julia Görges of Germany, 6-2, 6-4, on Thursday to reach her first tournament final since she won the 2017 Australian Open while two months pregnant.
Being a finalist at the All England Club is familiar position for Williams, who has won the singles trophy here seven times.
But this tournament, only her fourth since she returned from maternity leave, has been a whole new experience.
Williams, 36, is ranked 181st, but was given the No. 25 seed here. Then all the top-10 women’s seeds lost before the quarterfinals. The 13th-seeded Görges was the only top-50 player Williams has faced so far.
Williams also has talked about missing her daughter’s first steps because she was training. She has discussed breast feeding and postpartum depression at news conferences.
And she has played down her expectations, saying that she was simply happy to be back, that she did not need to win. But on Saturday, she will indeed play for her 24th Grand Slam singles title, which would tie Margaret Court’s record.
Williams will face Angelique Kerber, who beat Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 6-3, in Thursday’s other semifinal.
The 11th-seeded Kerber, 30, is a two-time Grand Slam champion. She beat Williams in the 2016 Australian Open final, then lost to her in the Wimbledon final that year. Two months later, Kerber won the United States Open.
She rose to the No. 1 ranking too, but the pressure of backing up the best season of her career weighed heavily on her. In 2017, she failed to advance past the fourth round at any major and her ranking dropped to No. 21.
But under her new coach, Wim Fissette, Kerber has returned to form.
After the 12th-seeded Ostapenko took a 3-2 lead in the first set, Kerber won the next seven games to take control of the match. Ostapenko gave her plenty of help, piling up 36 unforced errors to Kerber’s seven over the course of the match.