Qualifier Anna Kalinskaya scored her second Top 10 win of the week to advance to the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, defeating World No.3 Coco Gauff 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in Thursday's quarterfinals. The win is Kalinskaya's sixth Top 10 win and first over a Top 5 opponent. 

A quarterfinalist at the Australian Open last month, Kalinskaya is the fourth qualifier to make the Dubai semifinals and first since Marketa Vondrousova in 2022.

Into her first WTA 1000 semifinal, No.40 Kalinskaya will face World No.1 Iga Swiatek on Friday for a spot in the final. The winner will face either No.22 Sorana Cirstea or No.26 Jasmine Paolini in Saturday's final. 

Kalinskaya has not played Swiatek in singles, but she recalled playing against the not-yet No.1 in doubles.

"I think it was more than five years ago on clay," Kalinskaya said. "When I saw her, playing against her, I was like, She's really good. She was making really great decisions in the doubles match. I'm not surprised she's No.1 because I can see already mentally she's super strong and physically she's super fit.

"I need to be ready for tomorrow and see what I can do. But definitely excited to play against her in singles."

Match notes: Kalinskaya came into her first meeting against Gauff off the heels of a straight-sets victory over one of the hottest players on tour in No.9 Jelena Ostapenko. Buoyed by the confidence earned from her outstanding start to the season, she patiently reeled in Gauff to notch her 14th win of the season (including qualifying).

Gauff broke Kalinskaya three times in the 46-minute opening set and looked well in control of the match. Playing in her sixth match in her sixth match in seven days, Kalinskaya took a medical timeout at 5-2 to get treatment for her upper back and received additional treatment during the set break. 

Turning point: When play resumed, Gauff failed to hold serve in her first two service games of the set to give Kalinskaya a 2-1 lead. Kalinskaya stretched the lead to 5-2 before the American rallied to close the scoring gap to 5-4. With one more chance to serve out the set, Kalinskaya slammed the door on a Gauff comeback to force a deciding set. 

Gauff struggled to hold serve throughout the match and the woes continued in the final set. She finished the match with eight double faults to three aces, and won just 31 percent of her second serve points. As Kalinskaya stayed solid from the baseline, Gauff's errors began to mount. Bidding to make her second straight Dubai semifinal, Gauff still managed to generate break-point chances in three games of the final set but was unable to convert one. 

Kalinskaya's take: "It was a difficult match. I started a little bit not so confident," Kalinskaya told reporters. "I was getting used to the surface. I didn't get the chance to play on center court. I felt the speed of the bounce was a bit different. I couldn't find my timing.

"In the second set, I actually calmed down a little bit more and I played point by point till the end of the match. I could feel the tension, like I said on court, till the last point. She kept bringing so many balls back, so I have to stay really patient and decide which ball to go and finish the point."