Qualifier Anna Kalinskaya handed Iga Swiatek only her second defeat of the  season as the No. 40 stunned the top seed 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final of the WTA Dubai event on Friday.

The upset shock in one and three-quarter hours put the 25-year-old into the Saturday title match – the first of her career at the Tour level – against Jasmine Paolini, who knocked out Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 7-6 (6).

The win was her third over a Grand Slam champion here after defeating 2017 Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko and reigning US Open holder Coco Gauff. 

Swiatek had an eight-match win streak on the go after winning last week’s Abu Dhabi trophy for the third straight edition; the 22-year-old Pole now stands 14-2 this season.

The challenger becomes only the second woman after Caroline Garcia (2022 Cincinnati champion) to reach a 1000-level final.

Kalinskaya swept 10 of the last 14 games as Swiatek struggled to fight back from a set and 5-2 down. The seed lost a break in the first set, dropping her serve twice in a row to lose the opener.

Swiatek saved two match points in the eighth game while fighting to earn 3-5 in the second set; but Kalinskaya overcame another pair of break points in the concluding game and served out victory in her third chance.

It’s a bit surprising, for sure. I wasn’t feeling very well before the tournament,” the winner said. 

“I had to play qualies. I stayed in the moment just match by match. 

“I’m super happy to be in the final. I can’t believe it yet. But tomorrow is just another day. I’m looking forward to playing my first big final.”

The outsider said she played on instinct: “In the beginning of the second set I didn’t think too much. I just had to play point by point. 

“I had to stay calm and just follow the plan that I had in my mind. I had to stayaggressive and keep moving her. 

“I was not lucky – I deserved it. 

“I was up 5-2. I had two match points. Unfortunately it didn’t go as I wish it could. I had to reset and start playing point by point.

“When I finished the match, I didn’t feel like it was over because I was still mentally ready to play, I was just very focused.”