Four tries in a 10-minute spell helped Townsend's cause while fly-half Finn Russell produced two moments of magic from the tee that made sure of a 34-13 success.
Scotland's performance throughout the friendly global will have pleased Townsend as he looks to build on Vern Cotter's work that saw three wins during the 2017 Six Nations.
'We knew the conditions were going to be tough, maybe not as hot as in previous days but they put in a huge effort and got their rewards at the end of the first half before playing some really good rugby in the second.
"I always thought it would be hard to put in the type of rugby we have been doing in training because of the conditions and also because it's the first game together", he added.
Scotland made good on a pre-match promise of a fast start and forced the Italians into desperate defending in the first five minutes through quick and expansive passing as they probed for an opening.
Wozniacki suffers at the hands of teenage star Jelena
Ostapenko and Bacsinszky are set to meet for a place in the final on Thursday - which will be a birthday for both players. The other semifinal match will pit top-ranked Andy Murray against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.
"You have to keep working at it".
Townsend also admitted that asking a new group of players to implement his game plan will take time but was full of praise for their first outing under his guidance.
"I can't fault the effort of the players in very hard conditions, they fought to the end, but the penalty country and two yellow cards, you just can't do that".
"They are fifth in the world for a reason".
Double try-scorer Ross Ford added: "We knew that it wouldn't be easy to score, but we kept believing that keeping possession would bring about pressure and eventually that pressure tore into them". There is no doubt that if you go into half-time still 3-3 then it is an entirely different energy, but we didn't have that with conceding two late tries.
"We will have to look at ourselves, dust ourselves down and get ready to face Fiji in our next game".
"We know the challenge is hard but we can not make it as hard for ourselves as we did".
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