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Alinghi sails into final

Bertarelli (right) cracks open the champagne


Switzerland's Alinghi team has completed a 4-0 whitewash over its United States rival Oracle to win its best-of-seven Louis Vuitton Cup semi-final.

The victory means that the Swiss team is just one step away from a berth in the America's Cup final.

Alinghi finished 48 seconds ahead of Oracle and remains the firm favourite to become the team that will challenge holders New Zealand for the America's Cup.

"It feels fantastic to win the semi-finals," said Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts. "This is a big step towards reaching our goal."

The Swiss boat led from the start to the finish in Monday's race as Coutts kept Oracle at bay in challenging, shifting wind conditions.

Alinghi has not lost a race since the opening round of the competition, going through unbeaten in both the quarter-finals and the semi-finals.

The Swiss syndicate, which is backed by biotechnology billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, has until January 15 to prepare the boat for the Louis Vuitton Cup final.

In the other semi-final US team Oneworld leads Italy's Prada 3-1. The winner will take on Oracle for the right to challenge Alinghi in the final.



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