Williams raised her intensity level, added some velocity to her groundstrokes and some decibels to her growls and powered back to win 3-6 6-3 6-4, a scoreline that was a touch closer than what actually transpired on court.
Williams, for the first time since her comeback, appears to have her body and mind aligned to take that next step.
The Wimbledon women's singles takes centre stage on Tuesday - and nobody imagined the quarter-final line-up would shape up as it has.
It took just 62 minutes for her to defeat Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina 6-2, 6-2. It's not about wrapping up a win.
"It's speed and placement", Rodina said about what makes Williams' serve so effective.
"I don't think the draw is open". So it's really cool. "I've played tennis for over 30 years, so I'm so used to [being] incredibly fit".
Williams faces Italy's Camila Giorgi in Tuesday's Wimbledon quarter-finals and despite being seeded 25th, is yet to face another seed, with all the top 10 tumbling out early. She hasn't had to try very hard to win her points against an error-prone Ostapenko.
Bertens and Pliskova had reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time. She was hitting the ball well.
"It's weird. Sometimes I feel, 'Man, I'm in trouble.' Sometimes I feel, 'I can fight.' For whatever reason, today I was so calm", said 36-year-old American, who has been wearing compression leggings as a precaution after a blood-clot scare following her daughter's birth.
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Dominika Cibulkova, whose straight-sets win over Hsieh Su-wei was overshadowed by a lengthy argument with umpire Zhang Juan over a disputed point, faces last year's French Open victor and 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko. Kerber served for the victory at 5-4 in the second set, but got broken.
Considering what she went through during a traumatic labour nine months ago, since when she has played only a handful of matches, Williams's physical condition has been impressive.
After seven minutes, the decision was finally changed and the point replayed.
Cibulkova, who went on to win 6-4 6-1, said afterwards: "It was ridiculous".
Cibulkova went on to advance to a third Wimbledon quarterfinal, following 2011 and 2016.
The top-ranked Spaniard beat Jiri Vesely, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, on Centre Court to return to the last eight for the first time since he was runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2011.
The 21-year-old is the only female player yet to drop a set in this year's tournament.
The Dutch star finally tested Goerges' serve in the next game and she struck a superb victor on her way to securing the first break of the match.