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WTA Dubai Final Prediction: Anna Kalinskaya vs Jasmine Paolini

Jasmina Paolini will be in action at the WTA Palermo Open.

It is time to brace ourselves for one of the most unexpected matchups in a WTA 1000 final in Dubai. Anna Kalinskaya, the qualifier, has produced an improbable run to reach her first-ever tour level at the Dubai Tennis Championships. Jasmine Paolini, meanwhile, is looking to become the first Italian woman to win at this level since Camila Giorgi (2021 Montreal). Who will lift the biggest title of their career on Saturday?

WTA Dubai Final Prediction

Anna Kalinskaya vs Jasmine Paolini

Head-to-head: Kalinskaya 1-1 Paolini

In the rollercoaster ride that is women’s tennis, nothing can be taken for granted. It has been a slow and steady approach for Anna Kalinskaya, who was tipped for a watershed moment quite like this a few years ago. However, injuries have been the primary cause for delaying her breakthrough. She is just the second qualifier to reach a WTA 1000 final as a qualifier. Remarkably, this is her first final on the WTA tour. She’s done it the hard way, needing to topple three Top 10 players in the main draw just to get here. The biggest scalp was in the semifinal when she handed Iga Swiatek her first defeat of the Middle East swing. Can she get the job done on Saturday?

The pressure will most certainly be on Jasmine Paolini, who appears to be the slight favorite in many people’s eyes. The diminutive but highly energetic Italian is contesting her first final at this level, but she has been on the winner’s podium on tour before (2021 Portoroz). With that said, Paolini is unlikely to be intimated by the occasion. Although her run doesn’t quite stack up on par with that of Kalinskaya, she’s been seriously impressive. The 28-year-old had eliminated a pair of Top 20 players and received a huge slice of good fortune in the quarterfinal when fourth seed Elena Rybakina withdrew from the tournament.

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Kalinskaya is guaranteed a Top 30 spot in the rankings and will break the Top 20 if she wins the title. Paolini, for her part, could ascend as high as 14th and is already assured of a Top 20 place irrespective of the outcome. It is beyond both players’ pre-tournament expectations. While most players can complicate tennis, Paolini does not. She is an incredible mover owing to her size, and her forehand has been a formidable shot in her locker. Kalinskaya also does a lot of heavy hitting and is tactically astute. She totally outplayed the Italian at this year’s Australian Open. But this is where her durability could be tested after playing seven straight matches. Her fitness record remains precarious and Paolini might tip the scale in her favor.
Prediction: Paolini in 3

Main Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


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