ROME, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Second seed Roger Federer beat French upstart Benoit Paire in straight sets on Saturday to set up a tantalizing clash with fifth seed Rafael Nadal.
Federer staved off a fierec challenge from Paire 7-6 (5), 6-4, and in the earlier semifinals, six-time Rome champion Nadal defeated sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4.
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 Viktoria Azarenka.
In the semi-finals, Williams beat qualifier Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 6-0, while Azarenka held off seventh seed Italian Sara Errani 6-0, 7-5.