It worked. The 11th-seeded Kerber reached her second final at the All England Club by avoiding too many mistakes and using a seven-game run to seize control for a 6-3, 6-3 victory over the 12th-seeded Ostapenko on Thursday.
In September 2017, she gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, an experience which she later described as life-threatening and detailed complications she faced from a pulmonary embolism and a host of surgeries to prevent blood clots spreading to her lungs.
Nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova has said her "dream match" would have been on Centre Court against Serena Williams. "I lost count after, like, four surgeries because I was in so many surgeries", said Williams after her semifinal win on Thursday.
"Whatever happens, honestly it's an incredible effort from me. and good motivation to keep going for the rest of my career", Williams added.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion is one match away from equaling Margaret Court's record, and yet that's somehow not on her radar.
Aged 20, Serena already had two Grand Slam titles under her belt, but winning her first Wimbledon crown, at the expense of her sister Venus, was her true breakthrough moment.
By the end, Ostapenko had far more winners, 30-10, but also far more unforced errors, 36-7.
"Jelena is always fighting until the last point, hits the ball really hard, and I was trying to stay focused". After Kerber had her serve broken in the second set, Ostapenko powered back to take another game, but Kerber was able to complete the sweep when Ostapenko fired two serves back into the net and returned the final volley outside the lines on match point.
But she has not had it easy.
The odd one out in the semifinals had been Goerges, a late bloomer who was playing in her first major semifinal at the age of 29.
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Now she's going to walk out on Centre Court on Saturday for a chance to make history, again. "For me, I only see joy out of it", Williams said with a smile.
Ostapenko saved a match point in the seventh and gained one break back, but it was not enough against the 2016 Australian Open and US Open champion. Not even once actually.
All of the time away pushed someone who's spent more than 300 weeks ranked No 1 down the rankings - she began Wimbledon at 181st, but was seeded 25th on account of her past success - and no one could quite be sure how the American would fare over these two weeks.
How do you beat her?
That Serena, who is among the grittiest and most mentally strong player on tour, has such thoughts and overcomes them, speaks volumes about her determination to compete.
A "crazy" journey that began with Serena Williams taking baby steps back into top-flight tennis following a 13-month maternity break has come nearly full circle at Wimbledon as the American stands just one win away from what would be a remarkable triumph.
"It's very impressive. I haven't even been to the gym, let alone played tennis".
Saturday's final will be a re-match of the 2016 showpiece, which Williams won.
At this year's French Open - the only Grand Slam played on clay - she reached the fourth round but pulled out of her match with Maria Sharapova because of a pectoral muscle injury that affected her serve.