Anhelina Kalinina has had a wild week to say the least. The 23-year-old nearly lost in the first round of the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich. against Valerya Savinykh, but instead went on to reach her biggest career final.
Once there, she withdrew ahead of Sunday's match with a right toe injury, giving Shelby Rogers the title. Still, the week boosted the Ukrainian's ranking up to No. 136 and she showcased a focused, aggressive game style that could take her to bigger finals in 2020.
Here are five things to know about Kalinina:
She's the No. 6-best Ukrainian in the world and very familiar with her country's No. 1 player Elina Svitolina.
"She's amazing; what she's achieved is impressive," Kalinina told Baseline. "I wish I could maybe run like Svitolina, but I'm not like this."
All Photos by Adam Ferman
She turned 23 on Friday, the day of her quarterfinal against Caty McNally in Midland, Mich.
"Zero celebration, I was so crazy about my match," she said. "I was like I have to play, I have to be there. Mentally, it was not like I feel like I had a birthday and I was so happy; I was like, 'Come on, I'm 23 and I'm still so far in the rankings.'"
Then ranked No. 159, she would upset defending champion McNally, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, and then dispatch Jamie Loeb, 6-0, 6-1 on Saturday. Loeb had beaten her in the W25 Dallas final in October.
McNally is far from her best career win. Kalinina upset a world No. 31-ranked Danielle Collins in Houston last November, but chooses her win over a world No. 41-ranked Katerina Siniakova as her best moment. She topped the Czech in three sets at the Baltic Open in Latvia in July.
The Ukrainian’s biggest title date is an ITF W50 back in 2015, and she has won eight of her 10 ITF titles in the United States.
"I'm really happy what they're doing this for us," Kalinina said of the USTA Pro Circuit. "In the U.S., all the events are very well organized. I wish we would have something close in Europe."
Though the Top 100 was at her fingertips in 2018, ranking points are not at the top of her mind.
"It doesn't really work when I think so much about rankings," she said. "When I play, it doesn't matter if it's a W25 or W100 or Grand Slam. For me, it works just better when I'm focusing on what I have to do. I'm super nervous when I start to think about [rankings]."
Despite her injury struggles this past weekend, Kalinina is entered in the W100K in Kentucky this week, and drew Loeb for a first-round rematch on Wednesday.