LONDON, Great Britain - Former World No.1 Serena Williams made it into her 10th Wimbledon final on Thursday, ending Julia Goerges' breakout major run, 6-2, 6-4 at the All England Club.
"I thought she played really well," Serena said in her post-match press conference. "I had to bring my A game. I've never seen her play this well, and I've seen her play a lot. I really like watching her play. I feel like all the hard work she's been doing, being consistent for the past, you know, 14 months or more, it really showed today. I feel like she really brought it.
"I was happy that I could play this way or else I wouldn't have been able to win."
The victory is set to bring Serena back into the World's Top 30, with a chance to break into the Top 20 should she win her eighth Wimbledon title on Saturday.
Playing her first major semifinal since breaking Stefanie Graf's Open Era record for total major titles at the 2017 Australian Open, the 23-time Grand Slam champion was in imperious form against semifinal debutante Goerges - whom she last played at Roland Garros in June - finishing off the German veteran after 70 minutes on Centre Court.
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Serena made it through her toughest match of the tournament one round earlier against Camila Giorgi, and appeared locked into form from the very start against Goerges, breaking twice to capture the opening set and racing out to an identical lead in the second.
"I had to lift my level because I've seen her play a lot and she's never played like this, with so few unforced errors, so many winners, so aggressive, moving so well.
"I always play people at their greatest, you know. Always have to lift myself."
In the midst of a career-best stretch, Goerges showed flashes of brilliance as the American served for the match, breaking to get to within one game of leveling the set. Ultimately Serena's big match experience proved too strong, breaking straight back to book a championship clash with rival Angelique Kerber.
For Goerges, it was still a stellar result - her best at a major tournament - one that will return her to the Top 10 on Monday's rankings.
"I definitely leave with a head up high, that's for sure, after the last five years here," she said, referencing her five consecutive losses in the first round. "I'm pretty proud of the way I managed to adapt to the grass, accept the grass. I think today there was one ball which I really explained me how I felt probably the last five years of not making the ball where it landed right next to me, and I was not able to hit that ball because it jumped somewhere else. That really showed me that I just accepted how the situation is.
"At the same time I think I deserve that spot here. I was waiting for it a long time. Hopefully I don't need to wait that long again to reach that stage again."
Lookin ahead to the final, Williams and Kerber last played at the 2016 Championships, where she won her 22nd major title in straight sets and avenged an Australian Open final loss to the German earlier that year.
"I feel like she's been playing really well," Serena said. "A lot of people haven't been, I don't think in beginning of the tournament, looking at her. I think grass is her best surface. She plays so well here. She knows how to play on this court. She does it well.
"It's her second final in three years, is that right? That's wildly impressive. Believe me, I know she wants to go out there and win. So do I. I think it will be just like the last final, it will be a really good final. Hopefully it will be a good result."
Kerber was the first into the Wimbledon final earlier in the day when she beat former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets.
"It's been a crazy 10 months. I was still pregnant at this time last year. That's something I have to keep reminding myself. Also, going out there, being a mom, is super cool. Knowing that no matter what happens, I have amazing support and unconditional love. It's such a great feeling. I really can't describe it, to be honest.
"I never knew it until it happened. So, yeah, I feel like it's great. I feel really proud to be a role model. Like I said earlier, I've embraced it. I've always embraced it, but I feel like even more so I embrace it and wanting to do more, trying actually to be even more of a role model. I think it's so important for me. It's one of my life goals."