Argentina beat Germany as Huber announces retirement

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On the day she announced her retirement, Anke Huber produced one of the more memorable matches of her career – only to succumb to Paola Suarez in a Fed Cup marathon today and see Argentina beat Germany 4–1 in Hamburg.

Huber fought back from a 5–1 deficit in the third set and saved two match points. She then squandered three match points and Suarez went on to win 4–6, 6–3, 12–10 in two hours and 39 minutes.

The victory gave Argentina a 2–1 lead over Germany in their World Group playoff.

Maria Emilia Salerni then clinched the tie, giving Argentina an unbeatable 3–1 lead in the best–of–five series by defeating Barbara Rittner 6–2, 6–7 (7), 6–2.

Argentina qualified for the final round in Madrid, Nov. 5–11, joining Belgium, Czech Republic, Spain and defending champion United States.

In the meaningless doubles, Clarisa Fernandez and Laura Montalvo beat Andrea Glass and Bianka Lamade 6–4, 5–7, 6–2 to make the final score 4–1.

Suarez served for the match at 5–4 after allowing Huber to win three straight games and held two match points. Huber saved one with a forehand winner, the Argentine then made three straight errors and Huber broke serve.

The erratic Huber wasted her first match point at 8–7 and two more at 10–9. A double–fault by the German gave Suarez a 11–10 lead and this time, the Argentine didn't let her chance slip away, capturing the match when Huber's forehand sailed long.

Huber told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag that she would retire in January after the Australian Open, where she reached the final in 1996.

Although only 26, Huber is in her 12th season on the tour. Winner of 12 titles, Huber also won the Fed Cup for Germany with Steffi Graf in 1992. The two were never close.

Huber is the last of the generation of very successful German players led by Boris Becker, Michael Stich and Graf, all of whom are now retired.