Sabine Lisicki, conqueror of Serena Williams, came back from 3-0 down in the final set to pull off an astonishing victory against the odds over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7.
She will now be fancied to defeat Marion Bartoli for the fourth successive occasion in Saturday's final - her first in a Grand Slam event. She is the first German woman to reach one since Steffi Graf at Wimbledon 14 years ago.
From leading by a set and a game, Liskicki, who is ranked 20 places lower, collapsed for a time, especially on her serve. In the second set, possibly attempting to hit too hard, the German had her serve broken for four successive games to go down 6-2. Being broken again and trailing 0-3 in the final set, she had lost nine out of ten games and seemed finished, only to revive and amid much fist-pumping make a gripping contest of it again.
Serving twice for a place in the final, she could not hold the first time, but did so at last with a forehand into an empty half of the court.
The match was always going to be a question of how well Lisicki's power game, which had overwhelmed Serena Williams, came off. In the event, she made almost five times more unforced errors than Radwanska, who remained her quietly consistent self, not committing a single double fault - yet it was still not enough.
"It's unbelievable," Lisicki said. "It was a battle and the last few games were so exciting. I just fought with all my heart and believed I could win no matter what the score was." She added that having been in a similar position against Williams proved an inspiration: "I thought that I had done it once against Serena and could do it again. That gave me so much confidence."