Originally created 11/04/02

Slovakia beats Spain to win Fed Cup



MASPALOMAS, Canary Islands -- Slovakia beat Spain for its first Fed Cup title Sunday, with hobbling Spanish star Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario reduced to tears on the court by a heckler.

The Slovaks won both singles to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five competition, the women's version of the Davis Cup. Spain was trying for a sixth Fed Cup title.

Daniela Hantuchova beat Conchita Martinez 6-7 (8), 7-5, 6-4 and Janette Husarova downed Sanchez-Vicario 6-0, 6-2. The doubles match was canceled.

Sanchez-Vicario played her record 100th Fed Cup match, but was barely able to run after straining her right thigh during Thursday's semifinal.

"Before I realized it I was down 5-0 and it was too late to come back," she said.

As the second set began, a Spanish spectator screamed that Sanchez-Vicario should give way to Magui Serna if unable to play. The crowd then screamed at the man, telling him to leave. Sanchez-Vicario began to cry, pulling the collar of her shirt over her face to hide her tears.

She drew a standing ovation and the crowd started chanting her name. Play was delayed for 10 minutes. The spectators in the row with the heckler left him sitting there alone.

Sanchez-Vicario said she is used to comments from the stands but was sensitive Sunday because her team was trailing and she was injured.

"I am only human," she said. "The ovation made up for what that man said."

Martinez and Sanchez-Vicario have appeared in the finals 10 times. The 31-year-old Sanchez-Vicario also holds Fed Cup records for the number of series played (58) and number of matches won (72).

Hantuchova, a teenager ranked eighth in the world, wore down the 30-year-old Martinez in a reverse singles match that lasted 3 hours, 20 minutes.

Martinez, the 1994 Wimbledon champion tried to offset Hantuchova's powerful forehand and quickness with slices, and the strategy worked in the first set.

In the second set, Martinez saved three set points as she served at 4-5. But Hantuchova went on to break her in the last game of the set and take it 7-5.

Martinez seemed to have nothing left in the third set, quickly falling behind 4-1, although she did draw to 5-4.

"In the end I think I was physically better than her," Hantuchova said.