History was made at Wimbledon this year when all the top-10 seeds were knocked out before the quarter-finals for the first time.
Although Serena Williams seemingly restored a sense of normality by reaching the final at the All England Club for the 10th time in her illustrious career with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 triumph over Julia Goerges on Thursday, this time her appearance in the showpiece is far from ordinary.
Just 10 months ago the seven-time Wimbledon champion gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, and complications stemming from an emergency C-section and her predisposition to blood clots left her bed-ridden for her first six weeks of motherhood.
When you have won all there is to win and are seemingly entering the twilight of your career, most athletes would be forgiven for deciding to wind things up and call it a day following such an ordeal. But that is not Williams.
After taking tentative steps in her return to the sport in which she has long been the dominant force, just 13 matches into her comeback and ranked 181st in the world, she appeared to be working at the level that enabled her to win 23 grand slams.
A stunning double-handed backhand to hold serve for 3-2 in the opening set was followed with a cry of "Come on!" from the 36-year-old. It was a sign that she was about to turn things up a notch.
Goerges could only find the tram lines with a forehand down the line as Williams forced the first break, and a swirling cross-court forehand proved too difficult for her to return as the first set went the way of the imperious American.
A gamble with a drop shot from beyond the baseline against break point that failed to pay off exemplified the confidence of grand slam semi-final debutant Goerges, who is enjoying the form of her career after making big decisions to try to achieve what she felt capable of.
Ahead of the 2016 season Goerges split with long-time coach Sascha Nensel and appointed an entirely new team. She also relocated to the south of Germany and cut back on playing doubles with Karolina Pliskova, who she reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon with in 2016 only to lose to, you guessed it, the Williams sisters.
The 13th seed's response to falling a set and a break down was one of remarkable conviction and maturity, getting back on serve as Williams wobbled with an opportunity to close out the match and dropped her serve for just the seventh time in the competition.
But Goerges' composure deserted her and a double fault handed Williams a trio of match points. She needed just one.
It meant a familiar name will stand opposite Angelique Kerber in a repeat of the 2016 final, which Williams triumphed in, but the iconic American was keen to emphasise that her latest journey to the second Saturday cannot be considered run of the mill.
"It's crazy, I don't even know how to feel because I didn't expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back," said Williams.
"This was not inevitable for me. I had a really tough delivery, I had to have multiple surgeries and almost didn't make it. I almost couldn't make it to my mailbox, so it's definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final."
Although Williams is back in the final, this still threatens to be an extraordinary Wimbledon.
|The Open 2018 diary: Rahm´s saving Grace, Rory´s going grey|
|Kawhi Leonard traded to Raptors as DeMar DeRozan heads to Spurs|
|Cantona, Rosberg and other surprise retirements after Warburton hangs up his boots|
|No doubting Thomas as he climbs into yellow with stage win|
|Liverpool´s Oxlade-Chamberlain to miss ´vast majority´ of 2018-19|
|Open Championship by far the greatest - Player|
|Sarri wants new central midfielder and hints at Chelsea stay for Cahill|
|Nantes sign former Manchester United full-back Fabio|
|Marcelino rewarded with one-year Valencia extension|
|Warburton retires: Bale leads social media tributes to Welsh great|
|Mistakes do not define me, says Chelsea boss Sarri|
|Saints and Tigers to honour Horne with Twickenham clash|
|I want to keep Hazard, says Sarri|
|Europe must stop American juggernaut at Carnoustie|
|Joshua planning for heavyweight ´legacy´ – starting with Povetkin|
|Warburton retires: Wales and Lions star´s career in numbers|
|Matching ´ridiculous´ Tiger not on McIlroy´s radar|
|Spain sent me World Cup SOS, claims Benitez|
|Ozil, Gundogan critics should ´shut up´ - Klopp|
|McIlroy plans to play carefree at Carnoustie|
|Pakistan thrash Zimbabwe to secure series win|
|Warburton retires: Gatland salutes Wales and Lions great|
|Sturridge determined to stay at Liverpool|
|Mbappe is an alien – Varane|
|Warburton retires from rugby|
|India to assess Bhuvneshwar as Bumrah makes Test squad|
|Injured Craddock passes $100,000 in donations at Tour de France|
|WATCH: Perez taunts team-mate after audacious training goal|
|Alison Becker tweets ´I´m joining Liverpool´... but all is not as it seems|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton chasing down Schumacher - German GP in numbers|
|Notorious Carnoustie holds fond memories for legendary Watson|
|Rooney refused to be ´dead weight´ at Everton|
|The Open 2018: Molinari, Rahm and the in-form contenders at Carnoustie|
|Marsh interested in Australia leadership roles|
|United can challenge City for Premier League title, says Rooney|
|MLB All-Star 2018: Seven things you missed at Midsummer Classic|
|American League win home run-filled MLB All-Star game|
|Dragons lure Sims from Broncos|
|Cassano: Ronaldo like Nadal, Messi like Federer|
|Lakers´ Ball undergoes successful knee surgery|
|´We kill them, Messi or no Messi´ - Pogba´s pre-Argentina World Cup speech revealed|
|Cardinals suspend GM Keim for five weeks after DUI|
|Dalic: I can coach Brazil or Barca but Croatia my favourite|
|Warriors coach Kerr extends contract|
|I´m ready to bust him up - Miller calls out Joshua after New York confrontation|
|CAF Champions League Review: ES Tunis and TP Mazembe set the pace|
|Mixed day for seeds in Newport as Muller progresses|
|Rams sign Cooks to five-year extension|
|Cowboys’ Randy Gregory reinstated by NFL|
|Verdasco survives Swedish Open scare as Paire is picked off in Umag|
|US Open announces record prize fund for 2018|
|Stosur wins battle of former grand slam champions in Gstaad|
|Emery is Arsenal´s best signing, says Pires|
|Brewster commits to Liverpool with long-term deal|
|Panama boss Gomez steps down after World Cup|
|No Chelsea agreement for Golovin, claims CSKA president|
|Root looks right at home as England ease to series victory|
|Brighton sign Mali midfielder Bissouma from Lille|
|Kaka backs Brazil boss Tite after ´excellent´ World Cup|
|Alaphilippe the toast in France as Van Avermaet increases Tour lead|
|Shkupi 0 Rangers 0: Gerrard´s men advance despite dour draw|
|Khazri ends Sunderland nightmare as Saint Etienne swoop|
|The Open 2018 diary: Rose lets Rio go as Rahm goes ´Lefty´|
|Lampard raids Chelsea and Liverpool in Derby double swoop|
|Balotelli returns to Nice training after Marseille talks stall|
|Owens wants to play in the CFL, says agent|
|I don´t like thinking too much - Johnson|
|Toulon president fined as French club receive suspended points penalty|
|Top of the flops - Mickelson plays exquisite trick shot over man´s head!|
|Kerber targeted Wimbledon after 2017 disappointment|