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Serena Williams' Comeback Trail, in Photos

How the Wimbledon finalist battled back from a long break and a health scare.

Serena Williams will be playing in her 10th Wimbledon final on Saturday (July 14). Whether she wins or loses, it's still a stunning comeback for the tennis star, who returned to the game only four months ago after taking time off to give birth to her daughter Olympia (born September 1, 2017) and to recover from some frightening complications after her C-section, including a pulmonary embolism and a hemorrhage. Williams' husband Alexis Ohanian underlined her accomplishments on July 10 when he tweeted, "Walking to the mailbox was a painful, exhausting challenge for this woman just 9 months ago. This is already nothing short of remarkable." Here, a look back at Serena's march to Wimbledon.

THE RETURN Matthew Stockman/Getty Images THE RETURN Williams hadn't played competitively for 14 months when she first stepped back on the court at Indian Wells in California on March 8. Unseeded at a tournament for the first time since 2011 (she played under a protected ranking of 22nd), she defeated Zarina Diyas in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open. “I almost cried before the match," she said later. "I texted Alexis, I was like, is it normal that I want to cry?" BACKHAND Jeff Gross/Getty Images BACKHAND Beating Kiki Bertens in her second-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on March 10.

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SISTER SISTER Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images SISTER SISTER Serena's first tournament back ended with a tough loss to older sister Venus Williams in the third round on March 12. But even in the glow of victory, Venus was predicting that Serena would be on top again in no time: “I think she’s going to be speeding back to the seedings and to winning tournaments sooner than later. That’s all I see. I think that’s what everybody sees.” EARLY EXIT NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images EARLY EXIT Losing in the first round of the Miami Open on March 21 to Naomi Osaka. The 20-year-old from Japan is a huge Williams fan and admitted to nerves afterward. "I don’t really know how to describe it, but I just wanted her to, in the end, like, after the match, just know who I am and stuff," Osaka said. WOMAN IN BLACK CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images WOMAN IN BLACK Making her return to the Grand Slams at the French Open. On May 29, she won her first-round match against Kristyna Pliskova. Her skintight Nike catsuit was both fashionable and functional, intended to help with her blood circulation. "I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess," she said. HARD FOUGHT Cameron Spencer/Getty Images HARD FOUGHT Williams dropped the first set of her second-round French Open match against Ashleigh Barty on May 31, but then came roaring back to win. "I thought, 'I've got to try harder. I've got to just try harder.' And Serena came out," she said. SERVE Tim Clayton - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images SERVE Beating Germany's Julia Görges in straight sets on June 2. The win set up a much-anticipated fourth-round match with Maria Sharapova, but Williams had to withdraw from the tournament with a right pectoral muscle injury. “Right now I can’t actually serve,” she said. “I’m beyond disappointed.” WIMBLEDON FIRST ROUND BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images WIMBLEDON FIRST ROUND Williams turned her attention to Wimbledon, where she beat Arantxa Rus on July 2. SECOND ROUND Rob Newell - CameraSport/CameraSport via Getty Images SECOND ROUND Handily beating Viktoriya Tomova in straight sets on July 4. THIRD ROUND Visionhaus/Corbis via Getty Images THIRD ROUND Defeating Kristina Mladenovic on July 6. FOURTH ROUND OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images FOURTH ROUND Hearing it from the crowd after her straight-set win over Evgeniya Rodina on July 9. QUARTER FINALS Visionhaus/Corbis via Getty Images QUARTER FINALS She dropped the first set against Camila Giorgi on July 10, but then battled back to win. “It’s weird, sometimes I feel, 'Man, I’m in trouble,' sometimes I feel, I can fight,” Williams said later. “For whatever reason, today I was so calm." SEMIFINALS Ben Curtis - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images SEMIFINALS Defeating Julia Görges in straight sets on July 12. Williams will face Angelique Kerber in the final on July 14 with a lot of history on the line: A win would give Williams her eighth Wimbledon title and 24th Grand Slam title, which would equal Margaret Court's record (set in 1973). “I don’t even know how to feel, because I literally didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back in 16 months,” she said after the semifinal. “I just feel when I don’t have anything to lose, I can play so free.”



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