On paper, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff were projected to meet for the first time this season in the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Swiatek did her part in reaching the final four Thursday, but after winning her opening set, Gauff's tournament came to a surprising end.

Qualifier Anna Kalinskaya impressively shook off an early back injury concern to rally past the world No. 3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, achieving her best result at a WTA 1000 event.

“I’m super happy to be in the semis for the first time in my career at such a big level,” Kalinskaya told the WTA. “The match was great. I think the quality was pretty good. “

The world No. 40 wasn’t a typical qualifier, having just advanced to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at last month’s Australian Open and was coming off a 6-4, 7-5 victory over ninth seed Jelena Ostapenko. She dropped serve three times in the opening set, but after having her back treated for a second time during the set break, soon found her footing.

Kalinskaya picked up her 10th tour-level win in main draws this season.

Kalinskaya picked up her 10th tour-level win in main draws this season.


While the two competitors traded three breaks once play resumed, Kalinskaya never trailed in the second set. She forced a decider after serving it out on her second opportunity, then raced to a 5-1 advantage by continuing to attack the American’s second serve. Kalinskaya would win 69 percent of those points during the two-hour-and-17-minute victory.

“I didn’t feel the rhythm in the first set, because center court was a bit slower. In the second set, I got more confidence with the timing of her shots. I guess that was the key,” she said.

“I’m feeling good, definitely a little bit sore. I’m gonna get some treatment.”

Kalinskaya will need to halt Swiatek’s seven-match winning streak if she is to clinch a seventh victory in eight days. The world No. 1, who arrived in Dubai on the back of achieving a three-peat in Doha, has knocked out Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina and Zheng Qinwen in straight sets during her trip to the final four here.

Gauff finished her two-tournament stretch in the Middle East at 2-2. The 19-year-old is scheduled to play her first tournament on home soil since becoming a major winner at last year's US Open in two weeks at Indian Wells.