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One rower who will face the Kiwis in the final of the women's pairs at the world champs likes to think she specialises in intimidation.

American Susan Francia's penchant for kicking down doors and chasing bad guys certainly suggests a daunting prospect for New Zealanders Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh.

The striking 1.87m Hungarian-born rower has dreams of becoming an FBI agent once she is finished in the sport.

She has a BA in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania, but between modelling (she is signed with top agency Wilhemina Models) and rowing she doesn't yet have time pursue a career in crime fighting.

"That's what I went to school for and that's what really interests me; it's also one of those physical jobs and you're out there hunting down the bad guys," she said.

On a day in which New Zealand had plenty to savour with 10 wins from 15 crews, Francia and her partner Erin Cafaro restated their title credentials, dominating their heat to set up what should be a cracking final showdown with the Kiwis, who won the following heat.

The Americans are the defending world champions in the pairs - a two-person sweep boat without a coxswain - and were the only US crew to win their heat on day two of the world championships at Karapiro.

But they still consider their partnership a work in progress. After winning gold in the eight at the Beijing Olympics they wanted a new challenge - to see if they could excel in a smaller boat. They had an idea they could go fast as they had raced well together in trials in the build-up for the Games in what's called a pair matrix, where every port rows with every starboard.

But Francia said they were still very surprised when they enjoyed immediate success.

They know they will face a stiff challenge from Scown and Haigh, who won at Munich and Lucerne in this year's World Cup circuit.

Saturday's final will be the first time the NZ pair will meet the world champs, and Cafaro believes the pressure rests on the home crew.