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Dubai Tennis Championships: Anna Kalinskaya qualifier stuns Iga Witek and Coco Gauff in remarkable route to final

Dubai Tennis Championships: Anna Kalinskaya qualifier stuns Iga Witek and Coco Gauff in remarkable route to final



It was a remarkable week for Russia's Anna Kalinskaya, who came into it having just qualified for the Dubai Tennis Championships and ended up playing in the final of the tournament after defeating world No. 1 Iga Witek and US Open champion Coco along the way Gauff had defeated.

By beating 6-4 6-4 in the semi-finals on Friday, Kalinskaya became only the second ever qualifier to reach a WTA 1000 final, and the second player to inflict defeat on the Polish star in her last 26 matches.

But she succumbed to Italy's Jasmine Paolini 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in Saturday's final, with the match slipping away after serving for the title during a break-up to lead 5-4 in the deciding set.

(witeks) a great player. I know that if I don't stay calm and aggressive, she will destroy me, said Kalinskaya, the world number 40, after her semi-final victory, according to Reuters.

That was my plan. To stay aggressive, give her plenty of exercise. I'm happy I won. She's incredible. I'm glad I had the chance to play against her. I'm sure I'll play a lot in the future.

At first it looked like Witek had the upper hand as she broke up to take a 4-2 lead in the first set, but Kalinskaya rallied and completed two consecutive breaks to take the lead.

Iga Witek suffered only her second defeat in 26 matches.

The 25-year-old took a 5-2 lead in the second set, but faltered after Witek saved two match points and staged a comeback to get within reach of the equalizer in the second set.

However, Witek failed to convert a break point at 5-5 and Kalinskaya served out the set to take the win.

She had already beaten world number 3 Coco Gauff 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in Thursday's quarter-finals for another victory, making her form all the more impressive.

Her participation in the Dubai Tennis Championships supports her breakthrough at the Australian Open, where she reached the quarter-finals despite starting the season ranked No. 80 in the world.

That propelled her up the rankings, and she will now rise into the top 30 for a new career-high ranking after her impressive performance in Dubai.




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