Anhelina Kalinina came through two contrasting sets to defeat wild card Emma Raducanu in the first round of the Qatar TotalEnergies Open, winning 6-0, 7-6(6) in 1 hour and 39 minutes.
The Ukrainian rattled through the first seven games for the loss of just 12 points, but had to save one set point in the second-set tiebreak before converting her third match point. She is the third player from her country to advance to the second round in Doha, following victories for Marta Kostyuk and Lesia Tsurenko on Sunday.
The result was Kalinina’s second win in as many meetings with Raducanu, having also defeated the Briton 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the third round of Madrid 2022. She advances to a second-round tie with No.8 seed Jelena Ostapenko, a two-time titlist already this season; Ostapenko has won all three of their pro meetings.
Rome finalist Kalinina had a slow start to 2024, failing to win a set in three matches in Australia. But she got off the mark last week in Abu Dhabi, defeating Lucia Bronzetti to reach the second round, and has now notched her first career win in Doha.
For Raducanu, it was her first opening-round loss since returning from an eight-month injury hiatus last month. The 2021 US Open champion’s record this year is now 2-3.
Elsewhere, No.9 seed Barbora Krejcikova withdrew from the tournament due to a back injury ahead of her first-round tie with Anastasia Potapova. The Czech was replaced by lucky loser Martina Trevisan.
How the match was won: Kalinina delivered an immaculate first-set performance, out-manoeuvring Raducanu with changes of spin and pace on her forehand while committing just two unforced errors to 15 from her opponent. The World No.30 wrapped up the opener in just 23 minutes, and broke immediately at the start of the second set courtesy of a Raducanu double fault. In this stretch, Kalinina did not even face a game point.
However, Raducanu’s forehand made the second set a different story. A crosscourt winner from that wing enabled her to get on the board, breaking Kalinina back for 1-1. Time and again, the 21-year-old found down-the-line scorchers to get out of trouble, saving one break point at 1-1 and a whopping five more at 3-3. Overall, Raducanu saved 10 out of the 15 break points she faced, while converting both of her opportunities on Kalinina’s serve.
Even after the forehand let Raducanu down to get broken at 5-5, she stayed committed to going after it. She saved two match points as Kalinina served for the win, the second with yet another forehand down the line, and forced a tiebreak after some ferocious returning.
However, Kalinina was more solid when it mattered. Raducanu held one set point, but Kalinina bossed it from start to finish with her own forehand. A superb all-court exchange brought up a third match point for the 27-year-old, duly converted as Raducanu netted a backhand.
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