WTA PREVIEW | 2024 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships SEMI-FINALS as SWIATEK, KALINSKAYA, CIRSTEA and PAOLINI vie for glory

Friday, 23 February 2024 at 13:13
The semi-finals will begin shortly at the 2024 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with four players left in the running albeit with one standout in particular in and amongst those left in Iga Swiatek.
Swiatek reached the final last year in Dubai and lost to Barbora Krejcikova and will defend her points with one more win. But has been the standout player all week and after defending her Doha title, it could yet be a second title in as many weeks. Our preview looks ahead to her chances and those of the others involved.

Shock runs for Cirstea and Paolini anchor first semi-final

With the seeds in their respective sections, the first semi-final is somewhat of a shock with Sorana Cirstea set to face off against Jasmine Paolini. The former in particular averted Marketa Vondrousova in one of the best comeback wins of the year. The 33-year-old has gone through a real renaissance in the latter half of her career playing some of her best tennis akin to Adrian Mannarino in the ATP. She reached a third career WTA 1000 semi-final and also helps with defending a Miami latter stage run next month in softening that tally. She was 2-6, 1-5 down and saved six match points in four different games. Utterly sublime.
Her opponent as a result will likely be the fresher of the two, Jasmine Paolini has hit another landmark in her career with a first WTA 1000 semi-final. Albeit through fortune as Elena Rybakina who would've been favourite to meet Swiatek again had stomach flu so had to withdraw. She also took down an ailing Maria Sakkari who has not been in good form for a long time. As a result, who makes the final is an intriguing one and one that will dominate the early afternoon.

Sublime Swiatek to face Kalinskaya

Iga Swiatek has not dropped a set in two weeks of action and this has continued in Dubai with the World Number One playing like one amid tough opposition. Facing three well known players with prior success including Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina and recent maiden Grand Slam finalist, Qinwen Zheng, she showed that the Australian Open was a mere blip on the radar.
She showed last year that the conditions in the Middle East do suit her and will be favourite to claim the title on Saturday. But next up is a player who had to come through qualifying, but has proven she is not a soft touch.
Anna Kalinskaya has been through injury hell in recent years, but the 25-year-old who has always been a superb operator at her best continues to show that her Australian Open excellence wasn't a fluke. After surging through qualifying, she saw off Jelena Ostapenko who has been the standout player alongside Elena Rybakina in terms of tour wins this season.
Coco Gauff was next up in a three set win for the Russian and now she will get the chance to test her metal against the World No.1. In reaching the Quarter-Finals in Melbourne, she technically benefitted from the fall of Swiatek and so didn't get to face her. Now she does. Also it has been an interesting note that she has seemingly lost her Adidas sponsorship despite reaching a Grand Slam Quarter-Final wearing multiple different brands this week. She will hope that like with Peyton Stearns during the US Open, it leads to further opportunities as well as a win over Swiatek.

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