By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON (Reuters) - In her last five appearances at Wimbledon, Julia Goerges might as well have been playing on quicksand - albeit topped with lush manicured blades of grass - as she failed to win a singles match at the championships.
Luckily, the German 13th seed did not let that nightmare break her because on Tuesday she was whooping with joy after ending the giant-killing run of her close friend Kiki Bertens to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final with a 3-6 7-5 6-1 win.
"Wow, it is pretty amazing. I just tried to fight for every point," the 29-year-old said after finally reaching the last four of a major on her 42nd attempt.
"It's pretty unreal for me at the moment to get to this stage of a Grand Slam. It's obviously always been a dream for every player, to be in the semis in Wimbledon."
Waiting to take her on will be a certain Serena Williams - a player who knows what it takes to succeed at Wimbledon having already triumphed at the All England Club seven times.
But the American's formidable record could not dampen Goerges' jubilation on Tuesday because as she admitted: "After five years of first round losses, I have grown a lot."
There was plenty of evidence of her new-found confidence.
Goerges and Bertens often go out for dinner together when they are playing at the same tournaments but there was no room for sharing any friendly banter as both eyed a place in the last four of the world's most famous tennis tournament.
Dutchwoman Bertens, who had gained an appetite for eating up higher-ranked players having beaten ninth seed Venus Williams and number seven Karolina Pliskova in the past week, appeared set to swallow up another when she won the first set.
But Goerges kept on believing as she recovered from 4-1 down in the second to level up proceedings when Bertens swiped a backhand into the tramlines on the German's third set point.
Goerges turned out to be an unstoppable force as she won eight of the last nine games to subdue her friend, whose lunging effort on match point rolled into the bottom of the net.
"I didn't quite take my chances in the first set but tried to stay calm and keep working for the points," added Goerges.
"It is never easy playing a friend and especially when you know an opponent so well. I'm just pleased with my game today."
Goerges' win kept alive the possibility of Wimbledon staging an all-German women's final on Saturday as twice major winner Angelique Kerber takes on Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko in the other semi.
"It sounds crazy to maybe have the chance to share a German final in Wimbledon. It sounds pretty cool," said Goerges.
"It's still one more match to go for both of us. But it's great to see there is a chance. It's great for German tennis."
(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ed Osmond and Ken Ferris)