The Spanish 10th seed Carla Suarez Navarro has squeezed past Simona Halep of Romania in three sets to reach the final of the Italian Open.
The Russian third seed Maria Sharapova has also qualified for the decider with a 7-5 6-3 win over her Australia-based compatriot Daria Gavrilova.
Sharapova, the favourite following the third-round withdrawal of defending champion Serena Williams, claimed a second successive Rome title in 2012.
But the Russian warned: "I think she (Suarez) loves the surface, she grew up on the clay. I beat her the last couple of times but I have had losses against her so I know what a difficult player she can be.
"She seems like she's playing with a lot of confidence, she's very dangerous and has one of the best one hand backhands on the women's tour," said Sharapova.
Suarez, whose only tournament win to date was at Oeiras in 2014, defeated both Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Czech fourth seed Petra Kvitova on her way to a last-four match-up with second-seeded Halep in which she prevailed 2-6 6-3 7-5.
After her match, Maria Sharapova joined men's finalists Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in criticising the condition of the Rome centre court.
"It is definitely not up to the standard the court should be for this type of event, that's no secret," she said.