New York, September 7: Serena Williams cited Tiger Woods as an inspiration after reaching the final of the US Open with a demolition of Anastasija Sevastova at Flushing Meadows.
Twelve months on from suffering severe complications following the birth of her first child, Williams will play the second grand slam final of her comeback year – against 20-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan – on Saturday (September 8).
Williams lost to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon, but has hit a higher level in New York, her latest outstanding display leading to a 6-3 6-0 victory over Sevastova.
Former world number one Williams, who insists she can still improve significantly as she gets more matches under her belt, recorded her latest win on the day Woods shot a sparkling 62 in round one of the BMW Championship.
Golf's biggest star has made a successful return of his own this year from back surgery, challenging at two majors and making the US Ryder Cup team.
Asked about Woods in her post-match news conference, Williams said: "I feel like he is on his way back. He's been coming back from all his back issues. It's been a disaster. But, boy, he never gave up. It's inspiring, actually.
"I don't think a lot of people really know how bad it was.
"I'm not at liberty to talk about it. But it definitely makes me realise that ... I can definitely do my best if he can, too, yeah."
Williams appeared close to tears in her on-court interview and reflected on the reasons for that in her news conference.
"I got a little emotional out there because last year I was literally fighting for my life in the hospital," she said.
“Did Momma win?” pic.twitter.com/DldSLLVtat— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 7, 2018
"I think I was on my fourth surgery by now. What is today? I was on my third surgery. I had one more to go still.
"To come from that, in the hospital bed, not being able to move and walk and do anything, now only a year later, I'm not training, but I'm actually in these finals, in two in a row.
"Like I said, this is the beginning. I'm not there yet. I'm on the climb still. I just feel like not only is my future bright, even though I'm not a spring chicken, but I still have a very, very bright future. That is super exciting for me.
"I just feel like there's a lot of growth to still go in my game. That's actually the most exciting part."