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World No.1 Swiatek ousted by qualifier Anna Kalinskaya in Dubai semis.

Photo: Getty

In a surprising turn of events, 25-year-old qualifier Anna Kalinskaya secured a notable victory against the four-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek at the Dubai Tennis Championships. The match, lasting one hour and 42 minutes, concluded with a 6-4 6-4 win for Kalinskaya.

Reflecting on her strategy, Kalinskaya acknowledged the importance of maintaining calmness and aggressiveness to counter Swiatek's formidable game. She is set to face Italy's Jasmine Paolini in the final, who defeated Romania's Sorana Cirstea 6-2 7-6 (8-6) in the semifinals.

Kalinskaya expressed her satisfaction at having the opportunity to compete against Swiatek and anticipated future encounters between them. Notably, she became the first qualifier in Dubai's history to reach the final and is the world number 40, marking her as the sixth-lowest ranked player in the final.

For Swiatek, the loss marked only her second in 26 matches, following her recent triumph at the Qatar Open. Fatigue seemed to play a role in her performance, as she admitted to lacking the energy to execute her usual game plan. Kalinskaya's impressive journey to the final included victories over world number nine Jelena Ostapenko and world number three Coco Gauff.

The upcoming final between Kalinskaya and Paolini will be a significant milestone for both players, as it marks their first appearance in a WTA 1,000 final. Their previous encounter at the Australian Open in January ended with Kalinskaya securing a 6-4 6-2 victory over Paolini. The stage is set for an intriguing showdown as they vie for the Dubai Tennis Championships title.

Feb. 24, 2024 1:01 p.m. 2590

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