Fed Cup: Spain eliminates France 4-1
France was relegated from the Fed Cup World Group for the first time after falling to Spain 4-1 in Sunday's playoff.
France started the day at 1-1 but lost both reverse singles before also dropping the meaningless doubles match. Spain's Maria Jose Martinez beat Aravane Rezai 6-1, 6-4 and Lourdes Dominguez-Lino sealed her country's promotion to the top tier by defeating Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-4.
''It was very important to play at home with the chance to come back to the World Group after two years,'' said Spain captain Miguel Margets Lobato. ''We knew that the French team is very strong but we also knew it was a very important opportunity for us and I am happy because we took it.''
Martinez dominated Rezai with her serve on the clay court, winning 25 of 32 first serve points and hitting 34 winners to her opponent's 13 for her second singles rubber of the series after beating Virginie Razzano on Saturday.
''I stuck to my game. Drop shots, serve, hard on the backhand and a bit more slice on the forehand,'' Martinez said. ''I played really well this weekend, I feel so good right now.''
''It's not easy to play against a player that is always changing the rhythm with drop shots and slices and with a good serve,'' Rezai said.
Dominguez-Lino took advantage of Parmentier's 44 unforced errors to break her rival on four occasions.
''It's hard to fall from the World Group, but we have to keep our heads high and try to be good next year,'' Parmentier said.
With the series already decided, Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues and Nuria Llagostera Vives beat France's Alize Cornet and Razzano 6-4, 6-1 in doubles.