Serena Williams advances to final of Italian Open

Serena Williams continued her career-best winning streak, now at 23 matches, on Saturday to advance to the Italian Open championship match in Rome.

The top-ranked American stopped Simona Halep of Romania, 6-3, 6-0, in the semifinals and will try to win her fourth consecutive tournament, and second in a row on clay, on Sunday against third-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who beat seventh-seeded Sara Errani, 6-0, 7-5, in the other semifinal.

Williams last lost in a final to Azarenka at the Qatar Open in February, when the former top-ranked player and two-time reigning Australian Open champion from Belarus defeated Williams, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3.

If Williams can win on Sunday, she'll try to repeat her performance from more than a decade ago when she followed a win in the Italian Open with her only title run in the French Open.

“I love the clay," the 31-year-old Williams said Saturday. "I haven't had many wins at Roland Garros, but I do love it. I love to slide.

“My goal is just to win a match there this year.”

At last year's French Open, Williams lost in the opening round of a Grand Slam event for the first time in her career, when Frances' Virginie Razzano, then ranked No. 111, claimed a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 upset. It was Williams' only loss in 33 matches on clay in the last two years.


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