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.
|Root pleased to practice what he preached|
|Tianjin Quanjian threaten action after Modeste returns to Cologne|
|I had to stop Kemba getting 70! – Jimmy Butler reflects on dramatic game-winner|
|Molinari wins Race to Dubai|
|Rooney: Some ex-players can´t come to terms with England doing well|
|In a spin: England´s win against Sri Lanka sets new record|
|Ogier wins sixth straight WRC title|
|Rogic, Kruse to miss Socceroos´ Lebanon friendly|
|Joerger has Kings´ ´full support´, says GM Divac|
|England seal series win over Sri Lanka|
|Butler´s heroics spoil Walker´s 60-point game as 76ers beat Hornets|
|He´s an honest guy – Djokovic defends Zverev after Finals controversy|
|Bonucci boos a ´mistake´ by fans, says Mancinima|
|Ronaldo still part of Portugal squad – Santos|
|Santos satisfied as Portugal reach Nations League Finals|
|Howell holds onto RSM Classic lead|
|McLeish optimistic as Scotland zero in on Nations League promotion|
|Luis Enrique rejects criticism of Spain star De Gea|
|Schmidt dismisses Hansen´s Ireland World Cup favourites claim as ´banter´|
|There are always imbeciles – Bonucci hits back at fans after frosty San Siro reception|
|Portugal draw ´a step forward´ despite poor finishing – Mancini|
|Ireland were just too good - Read|
|Thomas at the double as France end losing streak|
|Albania 0 Scotland 4: Forrest double sets up promotion showdown|
|Italy 0 Portugal 0: European champions outplayed but secure Finals spot|
|Sensational Djokovic marches into final|
|Stander lauds Ireland´s ´unreal´ defence as All Blacks are thwarted|
|Dazzling Ireland claim historic All Blacks scalp in Dublin|
|Federer unimpressed with Zverev boos|
|Let´s get it on! Cheika relishing England clash|
|Croatia coach Dalic to speak with Lovren over Ramos remarks|
|Xhaka puts improved form down to ´freak´ Emery|
|De Gea not lacking confidence, says Spain´s Saul|
|Jordan goalkeeper scores from own penalty area in friendly against India|
|Pollard leads Springboks to Murrayfield victory|
|Fired-up Japan taught England a great lesson - Jones|
|Sarries leave it late to down Sale, Bath and Saints win|
|O´Shea fumes at disallowed Italy try|
|Southgate welcomes England selection quandary|
|Reaching Rooney´s England goals record ´definitely possible´ – Kane|
|Debut try for Cokanasiga as England rally to avoid Japan upset|
|Wembley will galvanise ´tired´ Croatia, insists Dalic|
|Zverev apologises for tie-break controversy amid O2 Arena heckles|
|Marquez happy with fifth after damaging shoulder in Valencia|
|Wales crush Tonga in Cardiff|
|Germany should keep faith in old guard - Bierhoff|
|Injured Lukaku to miss Belgium´s Nations League decider|
|Zverev knocks out Federer to reach maiden ATP Finals showpiece|
|Koroibete double maintains Australia´s 100 per cent record against Italy|
|Juventus´ Khedira sprains ankle in training|
|Van Dijk: Ramos is not my type of defender|
|Vinales grabs Valencia pole as Marquez crashes|
|I don´t deserve Ballon d´Or, Mbappe does – Hazard|
|Reed and Willett share lead in Dubai|
|Romagnoli joins long AC Milan injury list|
|Williamson steadies Black Caps after Boult heroics|
|Griezmann targets swift French response against Uruguay|
|Havertz´s future lies with Bayer Leverkusen – sporting director Boldt|
|Socceroos boss Arnold excited for future|
|South Africa triumph on Gold Coast in truncated T20 clash|
|Germany without Draxler for Netherlands game|
|Barcelona confirm Rakitic hamstring injury|
|Rain halts England´s post-tea flourish|
|Australia 1 South Korea 1: Luongo seals late draw for Socceroos|
|Irving thrives on ´peace´ of being in the zone|
|Lloris admits France could have lost by more|
|Dybala impressed by Argentina´s improved spirit|
|Arsenal chief confirms Super League talks|
|Hooker knocks out Saucedo to retain WBO strap|
|NBA wrap: Kyrie Irving sizzles as Celtics beat Raptors in overtime|