Svitolina reaches Italian Open WTA final

Andrew Dampf
Elina Svitolina has beaten Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 6-4 6-3 to reach the Italian Open tennis final

Defending champion Elina Svitolina has returned to the Italian Open final with a 6-4 6-3 win over 26th-ranked Anett Kontaveit.

Aiming for the third title defence in her career, the Ukrainian will face top-ranked Simona Halep or three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova in Sunday's decider on the red clay of the Foro Italico.

The fourth-ranked Svitolina on Saturday produced only 18 winners to Estonian Kontaveit's 24, but committed fewer unforced errors - 13 to 20 - in a match that lasted 74 minutes.

On her way to the last four, Kontaveit had eliminated four established players - 12th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe, two-time finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova, 1999 champion Venus Williams and second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki.

Halep and Sharapova meet later on Saturday on a warm day in the Italian capital.

In last year's final, Svitolina came back to beat Halep after the Romanian rolled her ankle.

This is the last major warm-up event before the French Open starting next weekend.