Kalinskaya upsets Swiatek, joins Paolini in Dubai final

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World No.40 Anna Kalinskaya staged a remarkable 6-4 6-4 upset over top seed Iga Swiatek in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semifinals and booked her place in Saturday’s title match against Jasmine Paolini.

Anna Kalinskaya and Iga Swiatek shake hands after the Dubai semifinal

The 25-year-old Kalinskaya reached her first Hologic WTA Tour-level singles final, making history as the tournament’s first qualifier to go that deep in the draw. Moreover, the Russian is the sixth-lowest ranked player to go this far at this prestigious event in the United Arab Emirates.

Facing world No.1 Swiatek, Kalinskaya came back from a 4-2 deficit in the first set and built a 5-2 lead in the second. Serving for her first career victory over a top-ranked player, Kalinskaya faltered as Swiatek saved two match points. On her second attempt to serve it out, Kalinskaya faced two break points, but denied the favorite to level at 5-5 and notched her third Top 10 win this week, having also beaten Grand Slam champions Coco Gauff and Jelena Ostapenko in previous rounds.

Anna Kalinskaya

Interestingly, the victory over Swiatek is Kalinskaya’s first over a player representing Poland at tour level.

In tomorrow’s all-unseeded Dubai final, Kalinskaya’s opponent will be Italian world No.26 Jasmine Paolini, who defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-2 7-6(6) in the other Friday’s semifinal. Their head-to-head record stands at 1-1, with Kalinskaya winning their latest meeting that happened as recently as last month in the fourth round of the Australian Open. (source: WTA, photos: Jimmie48)


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