Wimbledon 2018 -- Angelique Kerber advances to final

Angelique Kerber

Williams, who is chasing her 24th Grand Slam title, returned to tennis in March, but failed to achieve any considerable progress in her first tournaments and struggled to regain decent competitive shape.

It may well be only her second Grand Slam appearance since returning from pregnancy, but she still possesses the mental strength of a great champion and after getting six rounds under her belt, her form is now looking back towards her best. "These are the matches I was working for since I was a kid".

The old adage of feel your way in to a match and start solidly does not appear to apply to Ostapenko who put together a insane sequence to start her first Wimbledon semi-final.

For the second time in three years, Williams will face Angelique Kerber for the title.

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She also extended her impressive winning record in Wimbledon semi-finals to 10-1 with an impressive 6-2 6-4 victory over Julia Goerges.

Consecutive Ostapenko backhand errors handed 10th seed Kerber the first break and she proceeded to win seven of the next eight games basically by defending well and serving solidly to move into a 5-1 lead in the second set.

"I literally didn't expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back", Williams said.

Two months ago she withdrew from her French Open last 16 match against Russia's Maria Sharapova due to health problems just hours before the encounter was planned to start.

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That team also exceeded expectations and won the adulation of fans at home with a beloved centre forward who played for Tottenham. England's run in the World Cup came to an end on Wednesday night after a 2-1 defeat in extra time to Croatia in the semi finals.

"I am really happy and proud to be back in the grand slam final". She missed the 2017 tournament as she was pregnant with her daughter Alexis Jr., who was born on September 1 of that year.

That all changed once Serena clinched the first break, Goerges wobbled and wilted under the intense attacks from the 36-year-old.

The first game on Friday, served by Ostapenko, was a snapshot of what was to come and illustrated just why the 21-year-old has become such a "must see" player on the WTA Tour and why watching American great Billie Jean King describes the Latvian's all-or-nothing style as "so much fun". Ostapenko's strokes were missing and she grew increasingly frustrated, slapping a thigh after a miss or leaning forward and putting her hands on her knees after others.

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Croatia's legs at the start seemed to carry the weight of so many minutes in the knockout stage, and a pressing England went up quickly.

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