Swiatek plays first match as world number one with point to prove

By: AFP
Published: 10:31 PM, 14 Apr, 2022
Swiatek plays first match as world number one with point to prove
Caption: Swiatek plays first match as world number one with point to prove.
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Iga Swiatek will play her first match as world number one when she leads Poland against Romania in the Billie Jean King Cup this weekend, desperate to improve her record on home ground.

Swiatek, the first ever Pole to ascend to the top of the rankings, lost both singles matches she played the last time she appeared in front of her own crowd in a 2019 play-off against Ukraine.

"The last couple of years have shown that it's not easy to play with your home crowd because it's the same kind of pressure you feel," said the 20-year-old on Thursday who was still outside the top 60 three years ago.

"But for sure I am going to use my experience and the experience I had in Zielona Gora against Ukraine when we last played at home."

She added: "I think this is going to be easier. I can focus more, take energy from the crowd. I am really excited."

The tie in Radom, just 100km south from where Swiatek grew up, is one of seven qualifiers being played on Friday and Saturday.

The winners make it through to the BJK Cup finals later in the year.

Swiatek is on a 17-match win streak having captured titles in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

She starts the tie on Friday against Mihaela Buzarnescu, the world number 123 who hasn't won a match since November.

With former number one and two-time major winner Simona Halep not playing, Romania's top singles player is Irina-Camelia Begu, ranked at 63.

She starts Friday's proceedings against Magda Linette, one of three top 100 players in the Polish squad.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.