Jasmine Paolini - could be a big threat in clay season

Jasmine Paolini reflects on ‘unbelievable’ first WTA 1000 title in Dubai

Jasmine Paolini has claimed her maiden WTA 1000 title in Dubai, fighting back to beat Anna Kalinskaya in the first all-unseeded final at the tournament.

Paolini had won the second set to level things up, but found herself 5-3 down in the decider with Kalinskaya having an opportunity to serve for her first WTA title.

However, the Italian won the last four games to claim the second title of her career, with Paolini’s first coming at the Slovenia Open back in 2021.

The tournament in Dubai featured top players including Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, with Paolini revealing that even she was shocked to be lifting the winners trophy at the end of the week.

“I’m really surprised,” said Paolini. “I’m really happy. It was a really tough match. She’s playing unbelievably. To come back was really tough, I tried to stay positive every point. I’m really proud of myself.”

The final was not the only match in Dubai where Paolini needed to fight back, having beat 11th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia from 4-6 2-4 15-40 down in the very first round.

She continued to reflect on the biggest success of her career in the press conference, after becoming the third Italian in history to win a WTA 1000 title (Joins Flavia Pennetta – Indian Wells 2014 and Camila Giorgi – Montreal 2021).

“I am really happy how I managed to come back. It’s unbelievable,” explained Paolini. “I don’t know. I am just so happy. I am proud of all the work I made this year. It’s not easy to bring this work in the match sometimes. I am playing good tennis.”

The 28-year-old continued, “I played well at the end of the last season, I started the season well with the second week at the 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, but I am going to do my best.”

As a result of Paolini’s success in Dubai, she will move up to a career-high ranking of world No.14 on Monday.

Inside the baseline…

It was an incredible run to the title for Jasmine Paolini, who seems just as surprised as many of those watching the tournament in Dubai. The Italian has certainly been rising up the ranks in the past year or so, and has now broken inside the top 20 for the first time in her career. Paolini lost in the first round of both Indian Wells and the Miami Open last year, so has a great opportunity to continue her rise, especially as she will be a seeded player for both events.

READ NEXT: Iga Swiatek ‘angry’ after surprise defeat in Dubai Semi-finals

Jasmine Paolini and her run to the Dubai Title

With her success in Dubai coming to the surprise of many, we at Tennishead wanted to look back on Paolini’s incredible run to the biggest title of her career:

First Round – Beat Beatriz Haddad Maia (11), 4-6 6-4 6-0

Second Round – Beat Leylah Fernandez, 6-3 6-4

Third Round – Beat Maria Sakkari (8), 6-4 6-2

Quarter-final – Received a walkover after Elena Rybakina (4) withdrew due to illness

Semi-final – Beat Sorana Cirstea, 6-2 7-6(6)

Final – Beat Anna Kalinskaya, 4-6 7-5 7-5

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.