SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Italy's Luna Rossa coasted to another victory over Artemis Racing on Friday to open a commanding 3-0 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 one minute and 18 seconds ahead of Swedish syndicate Artemis 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.
Luna Rossa can wrap up the series as early as Saturday. The Italians were always overwhelming favorites to beat Artemis, which suffered a fatal training accident in May and missed the entire round-robin phase.
New Zealand easily defeated Luna Rossa in the round-robin preliminary series then elected to go straight through to the challenger's final.
(Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)