May 18, 2013 / 3:32 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Tennis-Serena extends winning streak to reach Rome final

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By Eric Salliot

Rome, May 18 (Reuters) - Serena Williams crushed Romanian qualifier Simona Halep 6-3 6-0 to book her place in the Italian Open final and extend her winning streak to 23 matches on Saturday.

World number one Williams, who is chasing a fourth consecutive tour title, will face Victoria Azarenka in Sunday's final after the third seed beat last year's French Open finalist Sara Errani 6-0 7-5.

Williams's unbeaten run has included title successes in Miami, Charleston and Madrid and she is chasing a first Rome title since 2002, the year she won her only French Open.

"I love the clay. I haven't had many wins at Roland Garros but I do love it," Williams told reporters.

"I was unhappy with some things today. I want to do well here as well as (in Paris)."

Williams' opponent was playing her first top-level semi-final and was bidding to become the first qualifier to reach the final in Rome.

Halep scored an early break of serve for a 2-1 lead in the first set but then wilted, winning just one more game as 15-times grand slam singles champion Williams steamrollered her way into the final.

Writing by Toby Davis in London; Editing by John Mehaffey

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