Spain again proved it's best on clay, winning the Fed Cup Sunday for the third straight year as Conchita Martinez defeated Mary Joe Fernandez 6-3, 6-4 en route to a 3-2 triumph over the United States.

"Next year, if we get into the finals - and there's a long way to go," said U.S. captain Billie Jean King, "we would play at home. And it won't be on red clay.""It won't be on anything that's red," American Gigi Fernandez said jokingly.

The Americans were underdogs against Spain after world co-No. 1 Monica Seles withdrew with knee and ankle injuries last week. Still - even though they were playing on the slow clay surface - the Americans had chances to win. But they never seemed confident enough to take advantage.

"Even though we knew they were the favorites, it's always disappointing to lose," Mary Joe Fernandez said. "It was unfortunate. We had opportunities to win yesterday and today."

Spain took a 2-0 lead after Saturday's singles as Martinez - ranked second in the world - defeated No. 15 Chanda Rubin 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), and world No. 3 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario beat No. 8 Mary Joe Fernandez 6-3, 6-2.

"It was a very good start for us winning the two on Saturday," Sanchez Vicario said. "It made it easier only having to win one of three today."

That put Mary Joe Fernandez on the spot in Sunday's first singles against Martinez. Martinez's victory gave Spain an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

"It was a deciding match, there was pressure going out there," Fernandez said. "I felt I played well and had a lot of opportunities, but I ended up not taking advantage. She (Martinez) played well at the right time."

Martinez, 28-1 this year on clay, wasn't overpowering, but she was effective. Fernandez had many chances to take command and keep the Americans alive in the series. But she consistently failed to hold serve after continually breaking Martinez in both sets.

Spain has won the equivalent of the men's Davis Cup four times overall, and has been in the finals six times in seven years. The Americans - who also lost to Spain in the finals last year - haven't won since 1990, although they've won a record 14 times.

The Americans finally broke through in Sunday's second singles as Rubin defeated Sanchez Vicario 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the best singles match of the four. It was Rubin's second straight career win over the Spaniard, her first on clay.

The 19-year-old Rubin - who gave Martinez a tough match Saturday - was chosen to replace Seles.

"She (Sanchez Vicario) is always an aggressive player regardless of what the situation is," Rubin said. "I wanted to give it my best in the fourth match whether it counted or not."

Sanchez Vicario dismissed the loss.

"I think Chanda played a great match, but everything was already decided and I was thinking more of the party tonight." she said. "It was a good way to end the season, winning the world team championship again - and I'll have other chances to play Chanda again."

The team title also helped redeem Sanchez Vicario's season. She lost three Grand Slam finals and slumped badly after briefly being ranked No. 1 for the first time in her career.

The Americans also won the doubles as Gigi Fernandez and Lindsay Davenport defeated Virginia Ruano-Pascual and Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). The two substituted for Martinez and Sanchez Vicario.

"The most important thing for us was to win as many matches as we could even it they didn't count," King said. "We thought it was very important to set an attitude going into next year."

At Eindhoven, Netherlands, 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) Sunday to win the $1,105,000 World Doubles Championship.

Galbraith, of the United States, and Connell, a Canadian, both left-handed, were stronger on big points than their Dutch opponents, who had defeated them in straight sets during the qualifying round.

The American-Canadian pair earned $50,000.

Connell and Galbraith, third seeded, won the first set on the tie-breaker, marking the first set the Dutch pair, seeded second, had lost a set in the tournament. Haarhuis and Eltingh rallied from 5-3 down to break Connell in the 10th game, forcing the tie-breaker.

But the Dutch team then wasted a set point at 6-5 and Connell and Galbraith held on to take the tie-breaker.

In the second set, Galbraith's serve was continually attacked by Eltingh and Haarhuis, but the Dutch could not take advantage of any of the seven break points they collected against the American.

The Dutch again squandered a set point in the second set tie-breaker.

At 5-4 in the tie-breaker, Connell chased down a Haarhuis drop volley and hit his return between the Dutch pair for a break.

Eltingh made the next point on his serve, but Galbraith followed with two strong serves, giving the Canadian-American team a set point which they immediately profited from, breaking Haarhuis to take the set.

The Dutch duo won the third set after breaking Connell's serve in the second game, then Galbraith's in the fourth for a 3-1 lead. Games then went with service, with Eltingh serving out for the set.

But in the fourth set, which had no service breaks, Galbraith and Connell cruised to a tie-breaker victory for the match.