Tennis: Britain humiliated

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BRITAIN, who have played in every Federation Cup tournament since its inception in 1963, may be missing from the event next year after being humbled by Finland in their second play-off match in Frankfurt yesterday. The British team will now be required to win the 1993 qualifying tournament to gain entry to the event proper.

The Finns clinched their 2-1 victory by winning both of the singles - Nanne Dahlman defeating Sara Gomer 6-4, 6-0 and Petra Thoren beating Jo Durie 6-3, 7-5.

Gomer, drafted in as No 2 instead of Monique Javer, made a bright start against Nanne Dahlman and did not drop a point on her first two service games. But then her concentration was broken by a line-judge who had forgotten to take up the correct position. Gomer stopped her service action in full flow as the official took his chair and tried again, but was then upset by an official's walkie-talkie.

Although Gomer recovered to lead 4-3, she failed to win another game thereafter. Durie also had problems with officialdom in her match against Thoren, once again a line judge slow to take up his position being the culprit.

In the second set Durie served at 5-6 and 40-love, but squandered her chances and surrendered the match when a drop-shot attempt failed to clear the net. Gomer and Clare Wood joined forces to gain some consolation with a 6-1, 6-4 win against Dahlman and Anne Aallonen in the doubles.

Spain, the defending champions, breezed into the semi-finals with a 2-1 victory over Argentina after Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez lost just four games in their singles matches. Martinez, ranked eighth in the world, coasted past Florencia Labat 6-0, 6-1 in 59 minutes. Sanchez Vicario, undefeated in singles play in the Federation Cup, needed only 54 minutes to dispatch Mercedes Paz 6-2, 6-1.

The doubles were a formality with Paz and Patricia Tarabini beating Noelia Perez and Virginia Ruano 6-4, 7-6. Spain will meet Australia who upset the third-seeds, Czechoslovakia, 2-1.

Helena Sukova put Czechoslovakia ahead by beating Rachel McQuillan 7-6, 4-6, 6-1, but Nicole Provis levelled matters with a 7-5 6-0 win over Jana Novotna before Provis and Rennea Stubbs combined to defeat Novotna and Andrea Strnadova 6-3, 6-3. Germany and the United States will contest the other semi-final today.

Jeremy Bates was forced to retire from the Nations Bank Classic in Washington with a wrist injury. Bates, who earlier had beaten John McEnroe 6-2, 1-6, 6-4, was trailing the Swede Henrik Holm 5-7 0-3 in his third-round match.

Results, Sport in Short, page 51