Serena Williams ended a nine-month title drought with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Madison Keys in an all-American Italian Open final Sunday.Williams’ previous title came in Cincinnati in August – a month before her attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam ended with a semifinal loss to Roberta Vinci at the US Open.It’s Williams’ fourth title in Rome and it comes exactly a week before the French Open begins. It was the first time two American women have met in a final on clay since Serena beat older sister Venus in the 2002 French Open.The last all-American final in Rome was in 1970, when Billie Jean King beat Julie Heldman. In the men’s tournament, top-ranked Novak Djokovic was facing Andy Murray in a rematch of last week’s Madrid Open final.In the Rome record book, Serena drew level with Conchita Martinez and Gabriela Sabatini, who also took four titles at the Foro Italico. Chris Evert holds the women’s record with five titles while Rafael Nadal holds the overall mark with seven.It was the 70th title overall in Serena’s career.The 21-year-old Keys was playing in the biggest final of her career. She posted personal best results at all four majors last year, including reaching the Australian Open semifinals and the Wimbledon quarterfinals.The 24th-ranked Keys broke Serena at love in the opening game of the match and hit six aces in her opening two service games to take a 3-1 lead.As Serena became more aggressive, however, Keys hit two double faults to hand the break back, making it 3-3.advertisementIn the tiebreak, Serena took control with a wicked cross-court forehand that Keys couldn’t get back then closed it out on her first set point with a big serve out wide that Keys returned long.After taking the first set, Serena pumped her fists and yelled to herself, ‘Come on!'”In the second set, Serena’s only real trouble came when she was broken while serving for the match at 5-2. But she quickly ended it the next game, concluding the tournament without dropping a set.Serena hit only 13 winners to Keys’ 17 but had fewer unforced errors – 24-32 – and converted five of her six break-point opportunities.Serena improved to 16-0 against Americans since losing to Venus in the Montreal semifinals in 2014. Her last loss to an American in a final came against Venus at Wimbledon in 2008.
Emergency crews remain onsite at the Kilbuck campus in Bethel after flames broke out early this morning, demolishing the school.Download Audio“The actual immersion school is flat. The immersion school itself k-6 is not standing.”CREDIT DEAN SWOPE / KYUKJoshua Gill is with the Lower Kuskokwim School District. The immersion school is a charter elementary Yup’ik school.Also destroyed are the operation and maintenance sections of the campus and the lockers holding the students’ school supplies.The Bethel fire department received a call at 3:46 a.m. that sewer pipes outside the building were smoking. They responded immediately and attempted to contain the fire, but it had spread inside the building.CREDIT DEAN SWOPE / KYUKExcavators tore through the building, ripping the structure in half to isolate the flames to one wing of the school.Backhoes also ripped sections away from the front part of the building to prevent flames from spreading to the adjacent armory, which stands intact.Also standing is the wing housing the media center- containing Yup’ik artifacts and hundreds of Yup’ik elder interviews, though heavy smoke and water damage is expected.But Gill says the Yup’ik instructional materials are lost:“There was a lot of age in those materials and a lot of personal blood, sweat and tears put into them that we’re definitely not going to be able to replace. But until we get in there and assess, we really don’t know. That was all created in-house here in LKSD with our folks.”CREDIT DEAN SWOPE / KYUKThe Kuskokwim Learning Academy school and dorms are standing but inoperable because of smoke and water damage. KLA is a residential, alternative high school.Students evacuated the KLA dorms around 3:45 this morning after a fire alarm sounded. Most exited wearing pajamas.Personnel transferred the students to a school district building where social workers are offering counseling.Meanwhile, the Bethel community has mobilized. Organizations are gathering supplies for donations and offering buildings to serve as temporary classrooms. And the community pool opened its doors to the displaced students for the day.Emergency efforts are ongoing. No injuries are yet reported.