Rome: Serena Williams claimed her fourth Italian Open crown in Rome yesterday with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 defeat of American compatriot Madison Keys.
Winner Serena Williams (left) and Madison Keys pose with their trophies after the Rome Masters final in Rome yesterday. Pic/AFP
It was the first all-American WTA claycourt final since Williams beat her older sister Venus to win her maiden French Open title in 2002.
Williams, who pulled out injured from last year's event when Russia's Maria Sharapova triumphed, claimed her first trophy of the season and 70th overall.
In Sharapova's absence, Williams claimed her 13th title on clay, the most of any active player on the WTA, to add to her previous wins from Rome in 2002, 2013 and 2014.
Keys is one of several emerging women players from the US and wowed the Rome crowd in a battling semi-final against Spanish third seed Garbine Muguruza.
She had conceded defeat to Williams on two previous occasions, at the last two Grand Slam events, the US and Australian US Opens. Yesterday, the American started with conviction, breaking Williams in the opening game and taking the first set to a tiebreak.
But once Williams, the biggest name in women's tennis, got into her stride, the 34-year-old American's powerful serve and range of shots proved too much for the Keys.