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.
|De Bruyne not worried about Liverpool title challenge|
|Sixers star Simmons makes history with triple-double|
|WATCH: Nowitzki receives standing ovation in first home game of season|
|Seattle´s playoff spot on hold after Seahawks suffer OT loss to 49ers|
|Cheika survives as Wallabies coach, Johnson appointed|
|Vikings remain in NFC playoff picture|
|Steelers stay ahead as Patriots lose AFC´s second seed|
|Lionel Messi is the best, says Amor|
|I´m still tired just looking at Robertson – Mourinho in awe of Liverpool intensity|
|Casillas takes swipe at Mourinho after United lose to Liverpool|
|Valverde relieved as Messi brilliance prevents another Levante nightmare|
|WATCH: Leno proposes to girlfriend after Bears clinch division title|
|Messi and Suarez the world´s best strike partnership, says Pique|
|Klopp: I cannot keep every Liverpool player happy|
|Messi and Suarez outscoring Real Madrid and Atletico in LaLiga|
|Levante 0 Barcelona 5: Marvellous Messi banishes ghosts of last season|
|Colts rout Cowboys to keep playoff hopes alive|
|Bears shake off Packers to win NFC North and return to playoffs|
|Mourinho explains Pogba omission and defends Lukaku´s Liverpool showing|
|Liverpool´s display against Manchester United one of the best, claims Klopp|
|Look away Jose! Damning stats expose Manchester United´s limp Liverpool loss|
|Time´s up, Mourinho: Manchester United can dither no longer|
|Manchester United´s players are not dishonest – Mourinho|
|Manchester United´s lack of ambition under Mourinho is scary – Keane|
|Mourinho: All Manchester United can achieve is fourth|
|Quagliarella should be protected by UNESCO, jokes Sampdoria coach|
|Manchester United surpass last season´s goals-against tally in first 17 games|
|Hasenhuttl revels in ´unbelievable´ victory over Arsenal|
|Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1: Shaqiri´s late show bails out Alisson as Reds return to the top|
|Edinburgh in control in Champions Cup, Racing win again|
|Emery ponders January signing after Bellerin injury|
|It is only a knock – Sarri plays down Hazard injury fears|
|Redskins QB Alex Smith released from hospital|
|Starc: If I listen to Warne, I may as well retire|
|Curry interviews retired NASA astronaut, apologises for moon comments|
|Hazard refusing to give up on Premier League title hopes|
|Ziyech & Blind score hat-tricks as Ajax claim 8-0 win|
|Canelo v Fielding: What next for three-weight champion Alvarez?|
|Southampton 3 Arsenal 2: Austin and Ings end Gunners´ long unbeaten run|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Chelsea 2: Sensational Hazard proves the difference|
|Pogba on the bench as Clyne starts for Liverpool|
|Lipsky ends long barren spell in Malelane|
|Lakers´ Stephenson to repeat air guitar despite technical|
|Fletcher pushed Miller on to Broncos sack record|
|The Sarri effect: Hazard surpasses 2017-18 goal involvements in just 16 games|
|Van der Burgh retires on a high note with breaststroke double|
|Rashford: Liverpool was never an option|
|No team Liverpool play this season will be as motivated as Man United – Klopp|
|India surprised by contentious Kohli decision - Bumrah|
|The Sunday Seven - 7 Key Opta facts for NFL Week 15|
|Miller eyeing Joshua bout at Madison Square Garden|
|Finch cleared of serious damage after another finger blow|
|Rashford ´untouchable´ because he plays on his limits – Mourinho|
|It´s important to have his mentality - Mayfield thrilled with Kobe Bryant visit as Browns beat Bronc|
|Centurion Latham indebted to ´world-class´ Williamson|
|Spurs´ Dier out until January after appendix removal|
|A-League Review: Glory down Jets to stay unbeaten|
|Philander ruled out of first Test|
|Controversial Kohli dismissal puts Australia in command|
|Thunder´s Westbrook: ´When we defend like that — best team in the league´|
|Kante at his best further forward, reiterates Sarri|
|Rose capitulates in Indonesia to squander chance to top rankings|
|Fielding: The better man won but I lived a dream|
|Rallying Bulls stun Spurs, LeBron and Ball post triple-doubles|
|Latham century puts New Zealand in commanding position|
|Mayfield leads Browns past Broncos|
|Canelo-GGG trilogy? We can make it happen – Alvarez|
|Canelo outclasses Fielding by third-round TKO|
|Farmer retains title prior to Canelo-Fielding bout|
|Qatar unveils Lusail Stadium for 2022 World Cup|