Federer to fight against Nadal in Rome final

Rome, May 19 (IANS) Second seed Roger Federer beat French upstart Benoit Paire in straight sets to set up a tantalising clash with fifth seed Rafael Nadal.

Federer staved off a fierce challenge from Paire 7-6 (5), 6-4 Saturday, and in the earlier semifinals, six-time Rome champion Nadal defeated sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, reports Xinhua.

This will be Nadal’s eighth consecutive final since his return from an injury layoff and the first for Federer this year.

The women’s final will be played between top seed Serena Williams and third seed Victoria Azarenka.

In the semifinals, Williams beat qualifier Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 6-0, while Azarenka held off seventh seed Italian Sara Errani 6-0, 7-5.

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