ROME: Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova stormed into the WTA Rome claycourt International final with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Victoria Azarenka on Friday.
Seventh seed Kuznetsova thus reached her second final here after losing to Jelena Jankovic, whom she defeated in Thursday's quarter-final, two years ago.
This result never looked in doubt as she dominated her Belorussian opponent from the start, breezing through the first set with three breaks of serve to one.
However, the sixth seeded teenager broke Kuznetsova in the first game of the second set and looked to make more of a fist of things.
However, the match turned on a controversial point at 2-0 to Azarenka, when on game point Kuznetsova hit a shot that television replays showed had landed just out.
It was called in despite Azarenka's vociferous protests and the 19-year-old let the matter get to her as she lost her way, and five straight games.
She rallied briefly when trailing 5-2 in the second but then a poor service game at 5-4 saw her succumb to the Russian 23-year-old after 1hr 30min on court.
Kuznetsova will play either world number one Dinara Safina or five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the final.