Dubai - Sara Errani, the French Open finalist, continued her upward spiral by beating her best friend and doubles partner Roberta Vinci to reach the 12th final of her career at the Dubai Open.
The 25-year-old fifth seed did so with a 6-3, 6-3 win over her unseeded fellow Italian to underline why she has been voted the WTA's most improved player of the year,
Vinci is the other half of the the world's top doubles partnership, whose 25-match winning streak last year was the longest by any women's doubles pair for 18 years.
This week, however, they took a break from doubles to play only singles, but if the idea was also to spend time apart it was only partially successful.
But they found themselves battling each other for an hour and 23 minutes of rather old-style rallies in which slice and accurate placement played a bigger part than power and flailing topspin.
Errani prevailed partly because she imposed her busy approach on the rallies more energetically.
However it was noticeable that she toned down some of her impact grunts, suggesting that comradeship may occasionally have vied with competitiveness for priority.
Errani had earlier said that they spent about 300 days a year together, and Vinci had described it as like "playing against a sister."
"It's not easy to play your friend," Errani agreed. "My coach will watch the other semi-final and I will have some treatment and get some rest. I have no preference who I play."
Caroline Wozniacki, the former world number one from Denmark and Petra Kvitova, the former Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic, were vying for the other place in the final.