Tennis: Spain's easy victory

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The Independent Online
SPAIN retained the Federation Cup, the international women's team title, in sweltering heat in Frankfurt yesterday, when they easily defeated the second seeds, the United States, 3-0.

The Wimbledon winner, Conchita Martinez, set the holders on the way to their third victory in the event with a swift 6-2, 6-2 win over Mary Joe Fernandez in the opening singles. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, the French Open winner and world No 2, followed with an equally convincing 6-2, 6-1 demolition of Lindsay Davenport.

Martinez, who suffered a surprising defeat against Germany's Sabine Hack in the singles during Saturday's semi-finals, took just 62 minutes to dispose of Fernandez. Sanchez Vicario embarrassed the Americans by defeating Davenport even more rapidly.

In temperatures over 30C, Martinez broke Fernandez in the second and eighth games of a one- sided first set, and the second followed a similar pattern, with the Spaniard racing into a 5-1 lead before breaking the American in the eighth game to win the match.

The Americans, who have won the competition a record 14 times, had been hoping to win at least one of yesterday's singles to force the final into a decisive doubles contest where they could call on their experienced pairing of Gigi Fernandez and Zina Garrison. But they were in any case beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Martinez and Sanchez Vicario.

The Spanish repeated their equally one-sided victory against Australia in last year's final. On that occasion, Sanchez Vicario and Martinez dropped only seven games in the singles.