Khachanov won the tournament in Doha, Kalinskaya beat the first racket of the world in Dubai

Khachanov won the tournament in Doha, Kalinskaya beat the first racket of the world in Dubai


One football coach, perhaps even a Russian, once explained why it is so difficult to fight English teams in European competition. “The problem is that they just don’t end. You beat some, and at the next stage you almost certainly come across a new Englishman,” lamented this specialist. It seems that in world tennis a similar situation has developed with Russian tennis players and tennis players – there are too many of them in the first hundred of the ATP and WTA. Quantity inevitably turns into quality, as Friedrich Engels explained in detail in his work “Dialectics of Nature”. And that’s great!

Khachanov’s success

In the first round of the ATP250 tournament in the capital of Qatar, Doha, with a prize fund of $1,395,875, the Russian, the 17th racket in the world, had no opponent. He started from the second lap.

In the second round, Karen faced Hungarian Fabian Marozan, who occupies 61st place in the ATP rankings. Their match lasted 1 hour 28 minutes, and Khachanov won with a score of 6:4, 7:5. In the third round, the Russian was waiting for his opponent in the first tournament of this year in Hong Kong, the 43rd racket of the world, Finn Emil Ruusuvuori. Before the start of the match, the score in personal meetings was 2:1 in favor of the Russian. The fourth match between Karen and Emil took about 15 minutes. With the score in the first set 3:0 in favor of the Russian, Ruusuvuori withdrew after the third game due to injury.

After this, Karen had every chance to reach the final of this competition. Why in the semi-finals he needed to defeat the 46th racket of the world, Australian Alexei Popyrin. Before meeting with Khachanov in Doha, he successively beat the Jordanian Shelbaykh, the Frenchman Grenier and the well-known Kazakh Bublik at this tournament.

Unfortunately, there was no Russian final in Doha, which we could theoretically have enjoyed if Andrei Rublev had not lost his quarterfinal match. In a bitter fight, he lost to the Czech Jakub Menšik – 4:6, 6:7.

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In the semi-finals, Popyrin showed serious resistance to Khachanov only in the first set. In the debut, he won three games in a row, and Khachanov managed to restore the balance only in the eighth game, making the score 4:4. However, the Australian with Russian roots did not think of giving up. As a result, it came to a tiebreaker, and Khachanov won the first set in a bitter fight, winning back three set points, with a score of 7:6 (14:12).

The second set did not cause any difficulties for the Russian tennis player – the opponent was tired both physically and mentally. Khachanov achieved victory – 6:2 and reached the final of the tournament, where Rublev’s offender Yakub Menshik, who beat the Frenchman Gael Monfils in the semi-finals, was waiting for him. Menshik, ranked 116th, was playing in only his third main draw tournament. Before that came the third round of the 2023 US Open and a second round appearance at the Australian Open last month.

The final match for Khachanov turned out to be an almost mirror repetition of the semi-final. The young Czech brought the first set to a tiebreaker, which the Russian managed to win only with a score of 14:12 (7:6).

The second set was also not the easiest. But experience took precedence over youth. And Karen won his sixth career title. “Each title is special. Every time you want to win. We run about 22 tournaments a season, and at the end of the day, you’re competing every week. Of course, here in Doha, this is one of the most pleasant trophies,” said Khachanov, who did not lose a single set all week.

Triumph Kalinskaya

In Dubai, eight of our tennis players started at the WTA1000 tournament with a prize fund of $3,211,715. But basically, almost all Russian women lost either in the first or second round. Including our young star Mirra Andreeva, who was eliminated in the first round after losing to the American Python Stearns. Nastya Potapova and Lyudmila Samsonova went the furthest, reaching the third round.

However, the real surprise came from Anna Kalinska, the 40th racket in the world ranking, who in the semi-finals played against the first racket of the world, Poland’s Iga Swiatek, whom she had never met before.

This match became a real sensation.

Facing Swiatek for the first time, Kalinska looked stronger than the world number one from the start. 22-year-old Swiatek started the first set strongly, playing a long 6th game, but then lost momentum, losing the next 6 games. Kalinskaya won the set.

Iga Swiatek tried her best to catch up and find her game, but she was in too much of a hurry. This led to many unforced errors, which Kalinskaya took advantage of.

Trained by former WTA player Patricia Tarabini, Kalinskaya scored her third win over a top-10 opponent in a week. Moreover, it can be argued that Anna Kalinskaya has reached a new stage in her career: beating the best in the world is an outstanding achievement.

“She’s a great player. I knew that if I didn’t stay calm and aggressive, she would destroy me! That was my plan: stay aggressive, keep her moving a lot. I’m glad I won. She’s incredible and I’m glad I had the chance to play with her. I am sure that we will play a lot in the future,” Kalinskaya said after the victory.

“I’m very happy with my team. They are a pleasure to work with and I feel physically much better than last year. This gives me great confidence that I can play at such a high level,” said the Russian.

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In the final, Kalinskaya faced 28-year-old Italian Jasmine Paolini, world number 26, who beat Soran Kirstu in the semifinals. Kalinskaya and Paolini last met in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January 2024, where the Russian won in straight sets.

This time the Italian was stronger, winning the biggest victory of her career with a score of 4:6, 7:5, 7:5 and winning the Dubai champion title. The win guarantees Jasmine a spot in the top 20 when the rankings are updated on Monday.

Despite the defeat, Anna’s performance in Dubai can only be assessed in the most positive terms, since a victory over the first racket of the world is worth a lot.


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