Jasmine Paolini more comfortable on court as she celebrates breakthrough title

Jasmine Paolini
Jasmine Paolini of Italy receives her trophy.

Jasmine Paolini showed composure and resilience in the biggest victory of her career on Saturday.

Paolini captured the highest-level title of her career, defeating qualifier Anna Kalinskaya 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the WTA 1000 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final.

World No 26 Paolini outlasted 40th-ranked Kalinskaya in 2 hours and 13 minutes.

The Italian battled back from a breakdown in each of the second and third sets.

Paolini claims her second career singles title on the WTA Tour, and her first at WTA 1000-level with the victory.

“I’m really happy how I managed to come back,” Paolini said in her champion’s press conference. “It’s unbelievable. I don’t know. I’m just so happy.”

Paolini is just the third Italian woman to lay claim to a WTA 1000 title, following in the footsteps of Flavia Pennetta who win in 2014 at Indian Wells and Camila Giorgi who took the Canadian Open title in 2021 in Montreal.

“It’s special to have this trophy in my hands,” Paolini said. “Was such a great tournament. Every player was here. Yeah, was really, really tough draw. I’m just happy.”

The Italian feels that her Dubai title is the result of some incredibly hard work put in by her and her team.

Paolini’s recent ascent up the WTA rankings continues with the latest victory.

At this time last year, the 28-year-old was ranked No 64; but, in 2023, she made her first appearance in the year-end Top 30.

Paolini is expected to make her Top 15 debut on Monday following her run in Dubai.

At the 2021 WTA 250 Portoroz, Paolini defeated Kalinskaya on her way to winning her maiden career singles championship. However, Paolini had lost all three of her finals after that victory.

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Furthermore, Paolini had fallen short against Kalinskaya in a crucial encounter in the Australian Open earlier in the year.

Kalinskaya advanced to a historic major quarter-final after winning in straight sets in the first Grand Slam Round of 16 match for both of them.

“I’m proud of all the work I made this year,” Paolini said.

“It’s not easy to bring this work in the match sometimes.

“Yeah, I’m playing good tennis.

“I played well at the end of the last season.

“I started well the season with second week in Australian Open.

“Now I try to be more relaxed on court, to try to think more what I have to do, to be more present every point. I think it works.
It’s not going to be every week like this, of course, but I’m trying to do my best.”