Serena Williams snapped a nine-month title drought with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Madison Keys in an all-American Italian Open final in Rome on Sunday.
Playing in her third final of 2016, Williams had spent the season in search of her first title since the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last August.
"I feel like it was important for me to just go out there like usual," Williams said in her post-match press conference. "It's a totally new match, it's a different week, you know, and hopefully just win one. If not, hope for next time, next week."
It was the first all-American women's final since 2012 and the first on red clay since Williams beat older sister Venus in the 2002 French Open. The last all-American final in Rome was in 1970.
The top-seeded Williams, a heavy favorite against the unseeded Keys, won her fourth title in Rome exactly a week before the French Open begins.
"I think no matter how many times you play Serena, you always go in and you can just feel her presence," Keys said after the match. "That's always an extra thing that you have to be worried about during the match.
"But for me today it really wasn't so much about how big the tournament was or anything like that. It was really just wanting to go out and do my best and give my best performance."
The 21-year-old Keys led 3-1 in the first set but Williams steadied from there, winning the next three games and later grabbing the opening set in a tie-break.
Serving for the match in the second, there would be one final momentum shift as the 21-time Grand Slam champion was broken one game from the win before Williams sealed the match in just under 90 minutes to capture her 70th career title
Missing the Madrid Open due to illness, Williams was playing her first red clay event of the season.
Williams will now move on to defend the French Open title as the world No. 1 attempts to win her fourth title in Paris.
"I have tried to defend there once, twice, three times before," Williams said Sunday. "Didn't quite work so well. But this year is different. I'm going to definitely go in there and I feel more calm and I don't feel stress to, like, have to win. You know, I feel like I just am happy to be out here."