Semifinal Preview of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

One Grand Slam champion remains in the final four

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The 2024 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are winding down. It has been a great week of tennis, and the final four have a lot to do with that. Friday's semifinal matches will feature Jasmine Paolini versus Sorana Cirstea and Anna Kalinskaya versus Iga Swiatek.

Before the tournament, few fans would have predicted that Paolini and Cirstea would be playing in the semifinals. Paolini had an unexpected walkover in the quarterfinals when Elena Rybakina was unable to play due to illness. She defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia, Leylah Fernandez, and Maria Sakkari this week. Paolini possesses a 2-0 edge over Cirstea; both matches went three sets. The last was at the 2023 French Open.

Sorana Cirstea is the 33-year-old Romanian veteran who fought her way back into the quarterfinal match against Marketa Vondrousova when she was down and seemingly out at 2-6, 1-5. She called it the greatest comeback of her career. Cirstea kept the ball in play in that second set and saved six match points to win, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2.

Anna Kalinskaya faces Iga Swiatek for the first time

Qualifier Anna Kalinskaya defeated two Grand Slam champions en route to the Dubai semifinals. She defeated Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets in the Round of 16 and Coco Gauff in three sets in the quarterfinals. She has never played Iga Swiatek.

Kalinskaya has proven that she can beat top players in Dubai. It could be to her advantage that she has never faced Swiatek, maybe her game will disrupt Swiatek's rhythm. She is currently ranked 40th and has never won a WTA title. She will need to play at a high level to give herself a chance at beating Swiatek who is vying for her second title in two weeks after winning in Qatar last week.

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