Goerges downs Bertens to set-up Wimbledon semi with Serena

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Severely tested for the first time this Wimbledon, Williams rallied to beat big-hitting Italian Camila Giorgi 3-6 6-3 6-4 Tuesday to move to within two matches of a record-tying 24th grand slam title.

Julia Goerges advanced to her first Wimbledon semi-final with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over 20th-seeded Kiki Bertens.

Wimbledon (CNN) Serena Williams may have been out of the grand slam game for roughly 16 months as she started a family, but when her back is against the wall - as one opponent put it last month - the real Serena still comes out.

Kerber is the highest-ranked player left in the tournament, and she heads into her third Wimbledon semifinal having slammed the door shut on three consecutive young talents, all in straight sets, beating Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic, and Daria Kasatkina.

Such was Goerges' surprise, she even apologised to clay-court specialist and good friend Bertens at the net during their lengthy embrace for ending the 20th seed's own remarkable run to the last eight. From then on, the result felt inevitable as she served beautifully, levelling the match and then, after a stunning backhand to break for 2-1 in the decider, she eased through the set, serving out to love to take her place in the last four. "For me, there's so much further I want to go to get back where I was, and hopefully go beyond that".

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Even when Serena was on the brink of losing the set, she managed to hit a 122 miles per hour serve, her fastest of the tournament.

25 seed, Williams is in the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the 13th time.

The victor of the Williams and Giorgi match battles Bertens or Goerges in the semifinals. Plus, at Wimbledon in particular, she lost in the first round each of the past five years. "You can be a mom, you can still play tennis and you can still be great", Williams said afterwards. She jumped to a 3-0 lead in both sets and wrapped up the win in 62 minutes. I just kept fighting.

Japan's Kei Nishikori beat Ernests Gulbis in four sets to set up a match-up with Novak Djokovic, who has quietly been playing well at the tournament.

With Kerber also advancing, it is the first time two German women will play in the Wimbledon semifinals since 1931. "But I feel like every time I lose, I get better", she said. She harbors no compunction about striving for a point-ending victor with every stroke. When you consider Serena suffered major complications from childbirth just 10 months ago, and only made her competitive return in March, it's all the more astounding.

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