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Argentinian Wins Italian Tennis

October 11, 1998

PALERMO, Sicily (AP) _ Mariano Puerta defeated Franco Squillari 6-3, 6-2 Sunday for the title at the $340,000 Palermo clay-court event in the first all-Argentine final on the ATP Tour in 16 years.

Puerta, who was not seeded, captured his first career ATP Tour title with a strong baseline game and by taking advantage of Squillari’s poor serving.

Squillari lost five service games and had seven double faults, including on match point, during the 62-minute encounter.

The two reached the final by upsetting Spaniards in rain-interrupted semifinals.

Puerta ousted top seeded Alex Corretja 7-5, 6-2, while Squillari got past Galo Blanco 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2) earlier Sunday.

Two Argentines had not met in an ATP Tour final since Jose Luis Clerc defeated Guillermo Vilas at Gstaad, Switzerland, in 1982.

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