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Serena Williams put on a superb display of power and athleticism to reach her 30th grand slam singles final.
The 23-time champion, who will equal Margaret Court's all-time record if she beats Kerber on Saturday, needed just an hour and 10 minutes to defeat Julia Goerges 6-2 6-4.
Williams, who gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia just over 10 months ago, produced the most impressive display of her comeback and will now attempt to stage a repeat of the 2016 final, when she defeated German Kerber.
Serena Williams says she is getting closer to being back to her best ahead of the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
The seven-time champion faces Italian world number 52 Camila Giorgi for a place in the last four in only her fourth tournament since giving birth to daughter Olympia in September.
After sweeping aside Russian Evgeniya Rodina 6-2 6-2 on Centre Court, Williams, 36, had an ominous warning for her rivals.
She said: "I feel like I'm getting to where I want to be.
"For me, there's so much further I want to go to get back where I was, and hopefully go beyond that.
"I'm getting there. I don't think I'm there yet. I feel like it takes time to get there.
"I'm always striving for perfection. There's a lot of things that, I don't know if you can tell, but I really need to work on. Hopefully, I can get there."
Williams, currently the world number 181 having slipped down the rankings following her maternity leave, is the lowest-ranked player to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals in the open era.
Seventh seed Karolina Pliskova's defeat to Kiki Bertens means that none of the top eight are in the quarter-finals for the first time since the All England Club introduced seedings in 1927.
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Venus Williams got the better of her younger sister Serena to make it through to the fourth round at Indian Wells with a 6-3 6-4 win.
Serena was playing in her first tournament since giving birth last September and faced her sister for the 29th time, with Venus winning all but four of their meetings.
Serena saved three break points to hold her first service game but lost her third to love as Venus took a 4-2 lead and served out for the set in 37 minutes.
Venus raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set after breaking her sister twice and had a match point at 5-3 which Serena saved, before Venus saved a break point of her own at 5-4 and went on to take the match.
The number eight seed will go on to face Latvian Anastasija Sevastova who beat Julia Goerges in straight sets 6-3 6-3.
Second seed and Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki is through to the fourth round after seeing off Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4 2-6 6-3, while US Open champion Sloane Stephens lost to Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-3.
Serena Williams has withdrawn from the season-opening Grand Slam in Melbourne and will not defend the title she won in 2017Read the full story ›
Serena Williams will make her playing comeback following the birth of her daughter at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.
Williams has not played since winning the Australian Open in January, while she was six weeks pregnant, but will return to court to play French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko next Saturday.
The 36-year-old, who gave birth to Alexis Jr in September, is planning to make a competitive return at the Australian Open next month.
"I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter in September," Williams told the tournament's official website.
"The Mubadala World Tennis Championship has long marked the beginning of the men's global tennis season and I am excited and honoured to be making my comeback as part of the first women to participate in the event.
"I look forward to seeing the fans in Abu Dhabi at the 10th Edition of the Championship very soon."
Men's world number one Rafael Nadal was also supposed to play in the event but withdrew due to ongoing troubles with his knee.