Azarenka sets up Williams final in Rome
World number one Serena Williams said she hoped to improve her game for the French Open despite easing into the Rome Open final after ending qualifier Simona Halep's dream week in the Italian capital with a 6-3, 6-0 victory.
Williams, the 15-time Grand Slam winner, stretched her consecutive wins to 23 ahead of her first final meeting with Victoria Azarenka since her defeat to the Belarusian earlier this year in Doha.
Azarenka, the third seed, proved too strong for home hopeful Sara Errani in a 6-0, 7-5 win in the other semi-final that was interrupted by rain twice and once by the Italian, who called for her coach after losing the first three games.
The Belarusian will go to Paris with high hopes as one of Williams's biggest threats.
However she was keen to point out she is not the only one to have beaten the American.
"She has lost to somebody else too before," said Azarenka.
"I don't really think about it, I just think about what I can do. She's definitely in good form right now so it's a big test for me tomorrow to be playing at that level again."
Williams, meanwhile, will head to the French Open a week on Sunday as one of the favourites and with revenge on her mind after a shock defeat in last year's tournament to Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano.
Ahead of that challenge the 30-year-old American will be hoping for a more telling workout against Azarenka after a limpid semi-final in which Romanian Halep failed to offer any kind of challenge.
Williams was so unhappy with her match that she went to practise for two hours before speaking to reporters, and said: "I am only unhappy with the way I played and I need to work on a few things and be able to do well here and next week."
Asked about Azarenka and their last final encounter in the Gulf, the American indicated she expects an altogether different challenge on Sunday.
"She played well in that match (in Doha) and I was happy in the final," said Williams. "It was a tough tournament and I had opportunities that I wasn't able to use, and Viki plays well in the vital points."
Errani had been gifted a place in the semi-final when defending and two-time champion Maria Sharapova of Russia withdrew early on Friday citing a fever.
However it was clear from the start that the Italian would be up against it.
In spite of the hot and humid conditions, Azarenka barely broke sweat on her way to a first set whitewash.
Errani, who had beaten the Belarusian only once in their six previous encounters, emerged with bigger ambitions in the second set.
But despite battling all the way, she was ultimately broken in the 10th game before Azarenka served to take a 6-5 lead.
Errani valiantly saved three match points in the final game but was finally broken by the more powerful Belarusian.