SAN FRANCISCO Italy's Luna Rossa cruised to victory over Artemis Racing on Wednesday to open a 2-0 lead in the semi-finals of their series to eventually decide the America's Cup challenger.
Luna Rossa crossed the finish line at San Francisco Bay more than two minutes ahead of Swedish syndicate Artemis to make it back-to-back wins in the penultimate stage of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
The winner of the best-of-seven series will compete against New Zealand in the final for the right to compete against defenders Oracle Team USA for the America's Cup.
New Zealand easily defeated Luna Rossa in the round-robin preliminary series then elected to go straight through to the challenger's final.
Luna Rossa are heavily favored to join them by beating Artemis, which suffered a fatal training accident in May and missed the entire round-robin phase.
(This story was fixed to correct day in first paragraph to Wednesday)
(Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)