Swiatek and Qualifier Kalinskaya Will Face Off in the Semifinal After Kalinskaya Stuns Gauff

At the Dubai Tennis Championships, qualifier Anna Kalinskaya overcame a setdown to defeat world No. 3 Coco Gauff 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 and set up an unexpected semifinal matchup with world No. 1 Iga Swiatek.

No. 40 Kalinskaya will play World No. 1 Iga Swiatek on Friday in her maiden WTA 1000 semifinal in an attempt to advance to the championship match. In the final on Saturday, the victor will square off against either No. 22 Sorana Cirstea or No. 26 Jasmine Paolini.

In the first set, which lasted 46 minutes, Gauff broke Kalinskaya three times and appeared to be in complete control of the game. Playing in her sixth match in seven days, Kalinskaya experienced upper back pain at 5-1 and needed to take a medical timeout. She continued to receive treatment during the set break.

Gauff lost her first two service games of the set when play restarted, giving Kalinskaya a 2-1 lead. Before the American mounted a comeback to cut the deficit to 5-4, Kalinskaya had extended the lead to 5-2. Kalinskaya shut the door on a Gauff comeback with one more opportunity to serve out the set, forcing a decisive set.

A clumsy Gauff was unable to match her opponent in the pivotal third set as she swiftly took a 2-0 lead and displayed no symptoms of the early back pain. Instead, she played a variety of forceful baseline forehands combined with angled cross-court backhands that had her opponent on her heels. Kalinskaya maintained her composure while serving to win the match.

Swiatek defeated Zheng Qinwen 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinals to continue her winning streak through seven Middle East matches.

In their head-to-head match, the top seed and Doha champion defeated Zheng for the sixth time in a row and for the second time this year to advance to the WTA 1000 event semifinals in 86 minutes.

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