Jasmine Paolini tells hilarious anecdote about first match vs Iga Swiatek: Who this?

Paolini, 28, met 22-year-old Swiatek for the first time in 2018.

by Dzevad Mesic
Jasmine Paolini tells hilarious anecdote about first match vs Iga Swiatek: Who this?
© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

Jasmine Paolini recounted a hilarious anecdote after reaching the Dubai final as the 28-year-old Italian revealed she was thinking "who is this player" during her first meeting with Iga Swiatek. 

On Friday, world No. 26 Paolini defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-2 7-6 (6) to reach the biggest final of her career at a WTA 1000 tournament in Dubai. After beating Cirstea, Paolini was awaiting the winner of the other semifinal between Swiatek and Anna Kalinskaya. 

Jasmine Paolini
Jasmine Paolini© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

In the press conference, Paolini was asked to address the prospect of potentially facing Swiatek or Kalinskaya in the Dubai final. Paolini then recalled Swiatek destroying her 6-2 6-1 in the ITF Prague in 2018. At the time of their first meeting, Paolini was 22 while Swiatek was 16. 

"I remember one time, I think we played in Prague, something like that and I was like, 'Who is this player?' (laughing)," Paolini said. 

"She was hitting winners everywhere. But it was actually on clay courts. 

"She is a great player, she is doing unbelievable, she is No. 1 for two or three years, already has won four Grand Slams... So, she doesn't need any presentation."

Paolini avoids Swiatek, will face Kalinskaya in the Dubai final 

After Paolini defeated Cirstea, world No. 40 Kalinskaya upset top-seeded Swiatek 6-4 6-4 to set up a Dubai final against the 28-year-old Italian. Just a month earlier, Paolini was beaten by Kalinskaya at the Australian Open after the Russian handed her a 6-4 6-2 loss in the round-of-16. 

"Anna, I want to say she is an amazing player. She is playing very well. I lost to her at the Australian Open. It is going to be tough but I would like to enjoy the final and try to play my best game yet," Paolini said of Kalinskaya.

When Paolini and 25-year-old Kalinskaya meet, it will be their third meeting. Previously, Paolini beat Kalinskaya in 2021 Portoroz before losing to the Russian at this year's Australian Open.

Jasmine Paolini Iga Swiatek