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Kalinina Confidently Overcomes Kudermetova To Reach Italian Open Final

Anhelina Kalinina reached her maiden WTA 1000 final at the Italian Open after she beat Veronika Kudermetova 7-5 5-7 6-2 in Rome. The 30th seed won the first set before a hard-fought Kudermetova matched the Ukrainian’s opening effort to claw level in the second. Kalinina raced ahead in the decider before confirming her spot in only her second-ever career final.

Anhelina Kalinina became the lowest-ranked player to reach the Italian Open final since 1986 with a 7-5 5-7 6-2 win over Veronika Kudermetova in Rome.

The Ukrainian powered past the 11th seed in two hours and 50 minutes in an intense battle to collect her second top-20 victory in a row (she beate Beatriz Haddad Maia in the previous round) – and only her fifth on clay.

Both players needed a 12th game to secure their sets, Kalinina – seeded No. 30 – took the opener before the Russian drew level in a tightly-fought second set.

Kalinina went four games in front in the decider before Kudermetova threatened a revival by winning two consecutive games, but it wasn’t to be as the 26-year-old continued her bid to win her first-ever WTA title.

“I can’t feel my legs!” Kalinina joked after the match. “There was so much tiredness in the last couple of days, three sets, three sets, three sets.

“I’m happy to be able to go through.”

She will face either reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina or former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko in Saturday’s final.

“First of all, I need to recover before tomorrow,” she said as she looked ahead to the final. “Because the tournament is still not over and, of course, another battle is waiting tomorrow.

“Both girls are tough players, it’s never easy on this tour but this is an amazing feeling, that I’m battling and I can go through and am able to compete at this level.

“For me, it’s new. But I’m really happy.”

She signed off with a heartfelt message to her home country, Ukraine.

“I just want to say that for me it’s also really important to win every match because, you know, with what Ukraine goes through.

“I just want to say that I really hope that I give a tiny light, maybe positive emotions for my country. I really hope Ukraine enjoys this a little bit.”

Kalinina is projected to earn a new-best singles ranking on Monday with a debut in the top 25.

If she goes one step further and wins the title on Saturday, she could even break into the top 20.

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