Serena Williams clinches fourth Internazionali BNL d'Italia title

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Serena Williams dispatched Madison Keys in straight sets to end her nine-month title drought with her fourth career triumph at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

The 34-year-old brushed past fellow American Keys 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 to land her first title in 2016 in her third final of the year.

Williams became the fifth woman to reach 70 career singles titles, after Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Margaret Court.

While Keys claimed an early break to lead 3-1 in the first set, Williams found her stride thereafter, winning three games in succession before emerging victorious from the tie-break.

Williams' only other speed bump en route to victory was failing to hold when serving for the match. The 21-time grand slam champion broke back straight away however, to complete her smooth title drive.

Williams will now eye the defence of her French Open title with extra momentum, while Keys can expect to return to the singles rankings' top 20.

Victory for Williams added a positive note to another turbulent tournament, where she had to battle an illness she said was brought on by eating dog food.

Williams quickly overcame the bout of sickness before seeing off Christina McHale to reach the quarter-finals, explaining on Snapchat that the bizarre incident stemmed from trying food prepared for her pet dog Chip.

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