Paolini ends Kalinskaya's dream run, wins Dubai Championships

Jasmine Paolini
Jasmine Paolini in action against Anna Kalinskaya. Photo: Reuters/Rula Rouhana

Dubai: Italian Jasmine Paolini fought back from a set down to beat qualifier Anna Kalinskaya 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Saturday to secure her second WTA singles title.

Kalinskaya, the Australian Open quarterfinalist, had been on a giant-killing run in Dubai, having stunned world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals after knocking out US Open champion Coco Gauff and Jelena Ostapenko in the previous rounds.

The Russian took the opening set, but Paolini mounted a comeback and levelled the tie - only to then find herself in trouble in the decider as she slipped to within a game of defeat at 3-5.

But she kept her composure to seal the win, becoming only the fourth player in 24 years to win the final in Dubai after dropping the first set.

Second seed Karen Khachanov defeated Czech teenager Jakub Mensik 7-6 (12), 6-4 to win his sixth career title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.

The 27-year-old Russian did not drop a set all week, a record he kept intact by fighting off four set points in the opening-set tiebreak.

Khachanov prevailed on the 26th point of the tiebreak by crushing a forehand return on Mensik's big serve, then collected the only break of the match in the opening game of the second set.

"I stayed strong, I'm extremely happy that I won the first set. It lifted me a lot and gave me a lot of confidence to step up in the second," said Khachanov, whose one-hour, 49-minute victory delivered his first title since Zhuhai in September.

Mensik, competing in only his third tour-level event, was the youngest finalist in Doha history. He hammered 16 aces and finished with 33 winners and 10 unforced errors.

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