Rome:Svetlana Kuznetsova reached the Rome finals on Friday after defeating Belarusian teenager Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-4.
It is the second consecutive final for the eighth-ranked Russian, who won the Porsche GP in Stuttgart, Germany, last week. She will face either top-ranked Dinara Safina or Venus Williams, the 1999 Rome champion, in Saturday's finals.
"It was good (to win) in two sets," Kuznetsova said. "But it was very difficult for me, she was hitting as hard as she could."
Kuznetsova only made little more than half of her first serves, but hit 23 winners _ 10 more than her opponent.
Kuznetsova broke Azarenka three times to capture the first set in 41 minutes.
In the second, the sixth-seeded Azarenka pushed ahead with a break but appeared to lose her concentration as she disputed a call by the umpire in the third game. She lost the next five games and surrendered on the fourth match point.
"When I was already playing much better and everything, this thing happens and it takes me right from where I started," said the 19-year-old Azarenka.
Kuznetsova beat Safina in straight sets in Stuttgart, for her first title in almost two years.
By reaching the semifinals in Rome, Williams is assured of jumping from the current No. 5 position to the third _ her highest ranking in six years.