Dubai Tennis Championships

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iga Swiatek was upset by qualifier Anna Kalinskaya 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Dubai Championships after the world No. 1 squandered an early lead on Friday.

Swiatek was up 4-2 when Kalinskaya rattled off four straight games to take the first set en route to her third consecutive victory over a Top 10 opponent.

Kalinskaya eliminated No. 3 Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals and No. 9 Jelena Ostapenko in the last 16.

“I feel physically much better than last year. That gives me a lot of confidence to play at such a high level,” Kalinskaya said in her on-court interview.

The 40th-ranked Kalinskaya said the key to beating Swiatek was to stay calm—yet aggressive.

“I know if I don’t stay calm and I don’t stay aggressive she is going to destroy me,” Kalinskaya said. “That was my plan—to stay aggressive and move her a lot. She’s unbelievable. I’m happy I had the chance to play against her.”

She will face Jasmine Paolini on Saturday in the biggest final of both their careers.

WATCH: Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) defeats Iga Swiatek (POL) in the 2024 Dubai semifinals


The Italian held off Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Paolini saved six set points in the second set.

“I gave you a little bit of drama at the end of the match,” she said in her on-court interview.

Winning in just under two hours against her Romanian opponent, the 26th-ranked Paolini is a victory away from her second tour title.

Paolini reached the fourth round at the Australian Open last month—her best performance at a Grand Slam—where she lost to Kalinskaya in straight sets.

The victory ensured Paolini will crack the Top 20 for the first time in next week’s rankings. She broke into the Top 30 last October.

Her only WTA title was at Portoroz, Slovenia, in 2021.