Anhelina Kalinina: Who is Angelique Kerber's French Open conqueror?


Angelique Kerber crashed out of Roland-Garros in the opening round after a defeat to Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina.

Despite her 26th seed, Kerber continued her poor record in the French Open. She was beaten 6-2, 6-4 – the German’s third successive first-round exit in the Grand Slam.

This is to take nothing away from Kalinina, currently the world number 139. The 24-year-old is in the main draw of Roland-Garros for the first time, triumphing in all three qualifying matches without dropping a set. GiveMeSport Women looks at her career so far.

Successful junior career

Kalinina cut her teeth on the junior circuit. She was one of a number of players to be selected to take part in the Grand Slam Development Fund touring teams at an under-14 and under-16 level. This allowed her to compete against the best young stars around the world.

This had an obvious impact on Kalinina’s development. In 2014, she won the girls’ doubles tournament at the Australian Open with Russia’s Elizaveta Kulichkova. The pair overcame Katie Boulter and Ivana Jorović in the final.

In the same year, Kalinina made the final of the Junior US Open, but lost to Marie Bouzková in straight sets. Despite the defeat, the young talent made it to number eight in the world junior rankings.

Making a name for herself in ITF events

Kalinina has Grand Slam experience, playing in the US Open in 2018. She came through qualifying at that tournament too, going on to triumph against Kathinka von Deichmann in her first match in the main draw.

The youngster could go no further, however, losing in the second round to home favourite Sloane Stephens.

Since then, Kalinina has been making a name for herself in ITF competitions. This has given her the chance to build up form, especially on clay surfaces. Most recently, Kalinina reached the semi-finals at W60 Oeiras last month before winning a W25 title at the same venue the following week. She was then victorious at W60 Zagreb at the start of May.

Who’s next for Kalinina?

Next up for Kalinina in the French Open is Danielle Collins. The American was taken to three sets in her first round clash against China’s Xiyu Wang, eventually triumphing 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Collins, the world number 50, reached the quarter-finals of Roland-Garros last year and the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2019. She will come up against Kalinina on Tuesday.

If Kalinina is victorious, a potential match-up against tennis icon Serena Williams looms…

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