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Serena Williams advances to Rome final


Rome, May 18 (EFE).- American Serena Williams continued one of the best stretches of her storied career, advancing to the Rome final with a comfortable 6-3, 6-0 victory Saturday over Simona Halep.

The world No. 1 needed just over an hour to dismiss the overmatched Romanian world No. 64, who had battled through the qualifying stage to make it all the way to the tournament's final four.

Williams' return dominated the match, allowing her to break Halep's serve five times in seven tries and win 71 percent of the Romanian's first-serve points.

Fresh off a tournament victory in Madrid, Williams extended her current winning streak to 23 consecutive matches and will next take on the winner of Saturday's second semifinal between world No. 3 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Italy's Sara Errani.

After a disappointing loss to fellow American Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, the season's first Grand Slam, Williams has won a hard-court event in Miami and two clay-court tournaments: Charleston and Madrid.

On Sunday, the 31-year-old Williams will be seeking just her second Rome title. She captured her lone winner's trophy in 2002, the same year she kicked off her "Serena Slam" by winning her only French Open.

Saturday's first men's semifinal will pit Spanish world No. 5 and six-time Rome winner Rafael Nadal against Czech world No. 6 Tomas Berdych, while Swiss world No. 3 Roger Federer will square off against surprise semifinalist Benoit Paire of France in the night match.

The Rome event is one of the biggest clay-court tournaments on the ATP and WTA calendars and a key tune-up for the French Open, which gets underway on May 26.