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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, May 14, 2024


World No. 1 Iga Swiatek saved all 10 break points to score her 10th straight win with a 6-1, 6-3 sweep of Madison Keys in Rome.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty

Tuning into the musical muse, Iga Swiatek took the court in Rome sporting headphones.

The world No. 1 continues to rock red clay rolling into the Rome semifinals with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Madison Keys today.

More: Tabilo Shocks Djokovic in Rome

Swiatek saved all 10 break points she faced and broke the explosive American four times in a 76-minute victory that saw the top seed tested at times on serve in the second set.

It is Swiatek’s 10th consecutive clay-court victory as she continues her quest to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2013 to sweep Madrid and Rome in succession.

Two-time Rome champion Swiatek raised her 2024 record to a WTA-best 34-4, including 12-1 on clay with her lone loss on dirt coming against 2023 Rome champion Elena Rybakina.

Swiatek will face either Coco Gauff, in what would be a rematch of the 2022 Roland Garros final, or Australian Open finalist Zheng Qinwen for a spot in the final.

It’s a tribute to Swiatek’s lofty level that even though her best tennis eluded her at times today she still posted a convincing scoreline against 2016 Rome finalist Keys.

Today’s quarterfinal was a rematch of the Mutua Madrid Open semifinals.

Twelve days ago, Swiatek dismissed Keys 6-1, 6-3 to charge into her second straight Madrid final.

Picking up where she left off in Madrid, Swiatek was swarming from the start scoring the break at 15 to start the quarterfinal, which came three years after their first meeting at the 2021 Rome..

Repeatedly targeting the American’s two-hander, Swiatek broke in two of Keys’ first three service games rolling to a 5-1 lead.

Running down a drive, Swiatek showed her defensive prowess with a high lob into the sun. A back-pedaling Keys bashed her normally reliable smash into net to end a 25-minute set dominated by Swiatek. Beating Keys to the ball, Swiatek ended the set on a four-game surge.

When Keys is landing her lightning forehand with regularity, she’s a threat to any opponent on any surface.

Amping up her pace in the second set, Keys bludgeoned the ball at times off the forehand and earned break points in three of Swiatek’s first four service games of the second set.

Playing some superb defense at times, Swiatek made several sliding gets to extend points and eventually drain errors as she broke at 30 for a 3-1 second-set lead.

Still, Keys kept taking her cracks and was rewarded earning four break points in the fifth game.

Nearly every time Swiatek faced a break point, she responded with the sharp serve wide to the Keys backhand on the ad side. In a maddening series of returns, Keys could not consistently put her backhand return back into court on many of those break points.

At one point, Keys’ coach and partner, Bjorn Fratangelo, urged her to hold her backhand grip while waiting to return on the ad side.

To be sure, Swiatek served well under pressure, but Keys’ inability to just land a return between the lines on some of those break point chances was costly.

A stubborn Swiatek saved four break points holding for 4-1 in the longest game of the match.

The 22-year-old Swiatek saved a 10th break point holding for 5-2 before serving it out at love. Swiatek improved to 18-2 in the Eternal City.


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