For Spain, Fed Cup a Feat on Clay

From Associated Press

Spain again proved it’s best on clay, winning the Fed Cup on Sunday for the third consecutive year.

Conchita Martinez defeated Mary Joe Fernandez, 6-3, 6-4, to clinch a 3-2 victory over the United States at Valencia, Spain.

“Next year, if we get into the finals--and there’s a long way to go,” U.S. captain Billie Jean King said, “we would play at home. And it won’t be on red clay.”

The Americans were underdogs against Spain in the women’s tennis equivalent of the men’s Davis Cup after world co-No. 1 Monica Seles withdrew because of knee and ankle injuries last week.


Spain took a 2-0 lead after Saturday’s singles as Martinez--ranked second in the world--defeated No. 15 Chanda Rubin, and third-ranked Arantxa Sanchez Vicario defeated No. 8 Fernandez.


Patrick Galbraith and Grant Connell defeated Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 7-6 (7-2) to win the $1,105,000 World Doubles Championship at Eindhoven, Netherlands.


Andrej Miklavc of Slovenia won his first World Cup slalom with a strong second run that gave him a combined two-run time of 1 minute 38.72 seconds as he overcame a deficit of more than a second at Park City, Utah. Austria’s Christian Mayer finished second by one-hundredth of a second. Italy’s Fabio De Crignis was third in a combined 1:38.84.


Greg Norman birdied four of the final seven holes and shot a four-under-par 68 to win the $637,500 Australian Open championship at Melbourne for the fourth time. Norman had a 72-hole total of 278 to win by two strokes over fellow Australian Peter McWhinney.


Vladimir Smirnov of Kazakhstan won the opening event of the men’s cross-country skiing World Cup series from defending champion Bjorn Daehlie of Norway at Vuokatti, Finland. Smirnov finished in 26 minutes, 3.6 seconds, beating Dahlie by 6.1 seconds over the 10-kilometer course.

Venezuela’s Antonio Cermeno defeated Jesus Salud by unanimous decision to retain his World Boxing Assn. junior-featherweight boxing title at Caracas.

World champion Italy defeated the Netherlands, 13-15, 15-6, 15-8, 15-3, improving its record to 6-0 and keeping the lead in the 12-nation men’s volleyball World Cup tournament at Sendai, Japan.