Not that anyone in Rome cares but Iga Swiatek makes mincemeat of Madison Keys

Swiatek is through to the semifinals at the Italian Open.
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Maybe Iga Swiatek is too robotic. She wins at a high level so consistently and with such calm and poise that possibly some get bored with how she plays. That is a shame, if true. She is a brilliant player with four Grand Slams already to her name and she is only 22 years old. After her defeat of Madison Keys at the Italian Open on Tuesday, the Pole is one step closer to winning in Rome.

The problem was that few showed up to watch the match. People filled in a bit later, but through the first set the crowd was extremely sparse. Swiatek and Keys began play a bit after 2 pm in Rome and the temperature was a decent 81 degrees. There were no weather conditions that would have kept people from showing up and watching a player marching toward all-time greatness.

In other words, Romans, do better. Watching Swiatek, the top-ranked player on the WTA tour for most of two years, should be a pleasure. Missing out when you have a chance to one day say, "I remember watching Swiatek when she was still in her early 20s," is all on you. Italian tennis fans might regret not watching Swiatek play.

Iga Swiatek defeats Madison Keys to move into semis at the Italian Open

The score between Swiatek and Keys was not close, but misleading. The two players had faced each other four times previously and Keys actually won one of the match-ups (Cincinnati in 2022). Though Swiatek took the first set 6-1, she was making many unforced errors and kept games a little closer than they should have been. Keys struggled with Swiatek's constant cross-court shots in corners as most players would have struggled, however.

Swiatek can hit with pace, but Keys hits harder. Keys was forced to try to overhit early in the match as she was broken in her first service game. She was also not going to out-move Swiatek and certainly does not have the ability to place a ball any place she wants as Swiatek does (few do). Keys simply had to hope that the Pole helped her stay in the match.

While Swiatek was making a few too many unforced errors, she was inducing Keys into forced errors. Midway through the second set, Keys had 11 forced errors while Swiatek only had two. This is what Swiatek does better than any other player; she dictates play and makes her opponent the one to adjust and adapt during a match. Keys tried to do this by serving from out wide and running around Swiatek's second serve but neither was enough to come close to winning the match and Swiatek won 6-1 6-3.

Next for Swiatek is the semifinals in Rome. Those will be held on Friday and the Pole will play Coco Gauff. Hopefully, more Romans will show up to watch that match.

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