Anna Kalinskaya and Jasmine Paolini will battle for Dubai title

  • Kalinkskaya pulls off massive straight set upset of Iga Swiatek
  • Paolini defeats Sorana Cirstea

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Anna Kalinskaya, 25, and Jasmine Paolini, 28, won their semifinal matches in straight sets to advance to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final match.

Kalinskaya, a qualifier, knocked off World No. 1 Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-4. She never played Swiatek before. Kalinskaya employed good serves and sprinkled the ball around the court to force Swiatek to make awkward shots on the move. The result was 13 unforced forehand errors for Swiatek compared to Kalinskaya's three. It took three match points to get it done, but Kalinskaya held her nerve after giving back one service break of her double break lead in the second set. This is the biggest win of Kalinskaya's career. She has been playing well under the radar but was an Australian Open quarterfinalist losing to eventual finalist Qinwen Zheng. It is worth noting that very few players beat Swiatek in straight sets; Jelena Ostapenko has historically been able to do it, but defeating Swiatek in straight sets is an even bigger accomplishment for Kalinskaya.

Jasmine Paolini also punched her ticket to the finals with a 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) win over Sorana Cirstea. As she did in her Thursday quarterfinal match with Marketa Vondrousova, Cirstea fell behind but began to mount the comeback late in the second set. Paolini shut it down with a second-set tiebreaker win. Paolini has defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia, Leylah Fernandez, and Maria Sakkari this week.

Kalinskaya vs. Paolini

Kalinskaya and Paolini have played each other three times. Kalinskaya leads 2-1 with her most recent victory in the fourth round of the 2024 Australian Open. It was a straight set win, 6-4, 6-4.

Paolini possesses one career WTA title won in 2021, and Kalinskaya has never won a WTA event. Whoever wins is a surprise to most tennis fans who expected ranked players such as Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff, and Elena Rybakina to be in the conversation when finals day approached.

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