Morning Chronicle - Swiatek stretches win streak to 18 at Billie Jean King Cup

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Swiatek stretches win streak to 18 at Billie Jean King Cup
Swiatek stretches win streak to 18 at Billie Jean King Cup / Photo: Michael Reaves - GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Swiatek stretches win streak to 18 at Billie Jean King Cup

Iga Swiatek marked her first match as world number one with an 18th straight victory as she steered Poland closer to the Billie Jean King Cup Finals on Friday.

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The 20-year-old swept past 123rd-ranked Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1, 6-0 in just 55 minutes on the back of five service breaks as the Poles opened a 2-0 lead over Romania in their qualifier in Radom.

Swiatek went into the qualifier on a hot streak, putting together 17 successive wins on her way to titles in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

Magda Linette earlier fought off the challenge of experienced Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu helped Britain level their tie against 11-time champions Czech Republic 1-1 with a 7-5, 7-5 win against Tereza Martincova.

Raducanu, playing on a clay court for the first time as a professional, wrapped up victory in just over two hours.

The 19-year-old showed no ill effects from losing her toenails in training on the demanding surface earlier in the week.

The Czechs, playing without two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and former world number one Karolina Pliskova, had taken a 1-0 lead thanks to Marketa Vondrousova who defeated Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-0.

Kazakhstan also have one foot in the finals after opening a surprise 2-0 lead over Germany in Nur-Sultan.

Yulia Putintseva recorded a national record 15th singles win in the rebranded Fed Cup tournament by defeating Angelique Kerber 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

"For me, it's always tough to play the first matches of the clay court season. It's not my favourite surface," said three-time major winner Kerber.

"I played well in the first set but then she came back and was playing better and better."

Elena Rybakina then demolished Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-0 to leave the Kazakhs needing just one point from Saturday's doubles and two reverse singles to seal victory.

In all there are seven qualifiers being played on Friday and Saturday.

The winners will join Switzerland, Australia, Belgium and Slovakia in the finals later this year.

Defending champions Russia as well as Belarus have both been expelled from the Billie Jean King Cup due to the invasion of Ukraine.