Dubai Tennis Championships: Anna Kalinskaya Eliminates Coco Gauff, Swiatek Makes Semis

Qualifier Anna Kalinskaya rallied back from a set-down to beat world No. 3 Coco Gauff 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. The victory sets up a surprise semifinal with world No. 1 Iga Swiatek who has been dominating the women’s singles scene as of late.

Gauff was able to break Kalinskaya three times in the opening set to take control of the match. It should be noted that Kalinskaya was playing her sixth match in seven days and took medical treatment during a timeout at 5-2 for her upper back. She then went on to receive more treatment during the set break. 

Coco Gauff, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
IMAGO / Hasenkopf

Despite being a set down and in visible pain, Kalinskaya was able to battle back. The second set began with Gauff failing to hold serve in her first two service games. This gave the Russian a 2-1 lead which she capitalized on. She won a quick three games to stretch the lead and to 5-2 before Gauff was able to rally to close the gap to 5-4. With a final chance to serve out the second set, Kalinskaya was able to push herself for a deciding set, winning 6-4.  

In the decisive third set, Kalinskaya held her nerve to go ahead a quick 2-0. There were no signs of back pain at this point as she used a number of powerful backhands and forehands to dominate Gauff. Gauff on the other hand looked out of sorts, making a number of unforced errors. In the end, Kalinskaya won the third set quite easily by the score of 6-2 to complete her quarterfinal win.

Kalinskaya’s overall record for the 2024 calendar year is 14-4. The Dubai Open has been treating her well so far as she managed to beat the world no.93 Rebeka Masarova 6-4 6-3. She then defeated world no.98 Kamilla Rakhimova 6-2 6-2, the world no.128 Storm Hunter 6-1 6-2, the world no.67 Cristina Bucsa 6-3 6-4 and the world no.9 Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 7-5. Her latest quarter final win came against world no.3 Cori Gauff 2-6 6-4 6-2.

Next up for Kalinskaya will be her biggest test yet in world no.1 Iga Swiatek. Swiatek beat Zheng Qinwen rather easily 6-3 6-2 in her quarter final and has looked in superb form as of late. As the frontrunner to win the tournament, she will be a very heavy favourite against Kalinskaya.

The semifinal is scheduled to be held on Friday at 7:00 pm on the Centre Court in Dubai. 

Sorana Cirstea Becomes Oldest Player To Reach Semis at Dubai Tennis Championship

Sorana Cirstea, the 33-year-old Romanian, made history recently by becoming the oldest player to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships. Her place in the semi finals didn’t come easy, as she was forced to pull off a huge comeback against the reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinals. 

Cirstea, who is ranked 22nd in the world, was down a set and was in a 5-1 hole against the eighth-ranked Czech before she made her comeback. Somehow she was able to dig deep, save 6 match points and win the match 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 in two hours and 40 minutes. 

The second set was won in a tiebreak, which turned the game on its head. Vondrousova lost her form and didn’t put up much of a fight in the third, losing 6-2 after being broken early on.

Cirstea will now go on to play Jasmine Paolini in the semi finals. The Italian Paolini was given a walkover win over fourth seed Elena Rybakina after she withdrew from the tournament with what has been reported a gastrointestinal illness.

With the elimination of Gauff, Rybakina and Vondrousova, there is only one seeded player left in the tournament in Iga Swiatek. The world number one who won the Doha title for the third time in a row last week has been cruising through the tournament. She will aim to become the first woman to complete the Doha-Dubai double since Justine Henin in 2007.