ROME, Italy—By her own admission, Iga Swiatek is in the zone at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

“I wasn't really thinking much about the score or what's really going on, I was just there present, focused on the next rally,” she said on Tuesday. “It worked really well.”

Even “really well” may be an understatement for the world No. 1, who made quick work of Madison Keys and lost just four games to the American, 6-1, 6-3.

“There were some tight games that could go kind of both ways,” Swiatek diplomatically conceded. “I'm happy that I was really focused in important moments to break or to not give Maddie a break.”

Swiatek hasn’t given out too many breaks this clay swing, having won her last 10 matches and, with a Mutua Madrid Open title already in hand, is closing in on a rare Madrid-Rome double. Two more victories would make the top seed just the third woman on the Hologic WTA tour to win both after Dinara Safina and Serena Williams.

Despite an up and down start to her season, dominating the field at the BNP Paribas Open but losing early at the Australian Open and Miami Open, the 22-year-old admits she’s in an entirely different headspace to this time last year, when she was defending the No. 1 ranking for the first time.

“I remember missing Miami and thinking that I need to catch up with points and everything,” she said earlier in the week.

“I feel like I'm in a different place. I'm still focusing on the same things, but I remember last year I was more nervous and more stressed. I felt more pressure. This time I'm kind of using the way I feel to just enjoy everything more.”


Swiatek has enjoyed having things nearly all her own this clay-court swing, losing just one match—to Elena Rybakina at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart—and maintaining a dominant stance, both on serve and return.

“Honestly, I keep laughing about my serve, but I know it's pretty good,” she said upon learning she led the tour in service games won in 2024. “I wouldn't be here if it wasn't. I wasn't aware of the stat.

“I think even if I don't serve well, I know I can win points by just playing behind the baseline. I always have a Plan B. I've had more and more matches where my serve was working. Having that combined, it just gives you a pretty good confidence. I think I've been using that.”

Determined not to take anything for granted, Swiatek will gamely regroup ahead of her projected semifinal against either Coco Gauff or Zheng Qinwen (Swiatek leads 9-1 and 6-0, respectively).

One thing is certain: now that she’s in it, it will take an immense effort to take Swiatek out of the zone and out of the hunt for a third title at the Foro Italico.