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Opinion: New version of Serena Williams provides a plot twist as she chases her greatest triumph

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Even for Serena Williams, this shouldn’t be possible. 

Not the fact that she’s back in another Grand Slam semifinal, so close yet again to No. 24. Or that she’s able to still beat some of the best players in the world at age 39, at a time when most of her contemporaries and rivals are long gone from high-level professional tennis. 

No, the most shocking thing about how Williams has ripped through the draw at this unique Australian Open is that she’s been able to seemingly turn back the clock on a body that for the last few years seemed like it was going to be the biggest obstacle to winning more Slams. 

Regardless of what happens in Wednesday night’s semifinal against Naomi Osaka, who has established herself as the best hard court player in the world, one more big run for Serena no longer seems like a long shot. 

Serena Williams celebrates beating  Simona Halep during their women's singles quarterfinal match during the Australian Open in Melbourne on February 16, 2021.

“I’m here, and I’m happy to be here and I gotta keep going,” Williams said after beating No. 2-ranked Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 in a quarterfinal match that finished while most Americans were still asleep Tuesday morning in the U.S. “Obviously, I have an incredible opponent to play and it’ll be nice to hopefully keep raising the level of my game. I’m going to have to.”

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