America's Cup - Oracle closer taking Match point with vital Day 6 win

Saturday not only saw the conclusion of the qualifiers but also the conclusion of Groupama Team France's involvement in the 35th America's Cup after they failed to progress through to the Challenger Playoffs.

"We had a look at the forecast over the coming week and thought that it was our best chance of progressing forward", Burling said at a televised briefing after Saturday's races.

As the highest scoring challenger during the qualifier round which ended on Saturday, Emirates Team New Zealand chose Ainslie's team as their semi-final opponents, leaving Sweden's Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan to compete in the other.

The loss left Land Rover BAR further behind Emirates Team New Zealand in the qualifying rankings and Ainslie's crew threw every trick possible into their next race against France to clinch victory, with the lead having swung back and forth.

The Kiwi team had a massive speed advantage over BAR when the two teams lined up in light conditions in the second round robin, as Team NZ impressed with their ability to foil right around the race track in the marginal racing conditions.

"We have sat down as a team and decided we would like to pick Land Rover BAR", said Peter Burling, who also took the opportunity to pass on the condolences of Emirates Team New Zealand to the family of New Zealand native Mary Elizabeth McKee, who passed away in Bermuda on Thursday night.

As holders, Oracle Team USA will be in the final, regardless of how well they perform.

Earlier Ainslie, whose crew did just enough to get through the qualifying round but lacking consistency in both speed and the execution of manoeuvres, had said the pressure was on New Zealand as the "in-form" team.

In 2013, Oracle Team USA entered the match with a two-point penalty after being caught in the biggest cheating scandal in America's Cup history.

The New Zealand choice leaves Sweden's Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan as the other head-to-head semi-final.

"On Monday, in heavier winds approaching 20 knots, they struggled against France".

Two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA, which came in with one bonus point, leads the qualifiers with seven points, followed by Emirates Team New Zealand with six and Land Rover BAR with five.

British challenger Ainslie looked relaxed waiting for Murray's decision on whether to abandon racing for the day or postpone further into the afternoon.

“It is something we have been trying to do for a long time, ” he said.

New Zealand are seeking to avenge their 2013 defeat by Oracle Team USA, which is bank-rolled by Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, in San Francisco.

"We made some little errors and then learned a lot and we stayed out for a while afterwards to practice a few things that went wrong during the race and we are really happy with the few improvements we made afterwards".

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