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SANCHEZ VICARIO TOPS SABATINI, 6-1, 6-4 FOR PLAYERS CROWN

When fans in one corner of the stadium began singing "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," Arantxa Sanchez Vicario smiled and Gabriela Sabatini frowned.

They wore the same expressions after their match.Sanchez Vicario lured Sabatini into a duel from the baseline and then withstood the Argentine's late charges for a 6-1, 6-4 victory Saturday in the women's final at the International Players Championships.

Sabatini, who lives on Key Biscayne, clearly had a home-court advantage in crowd support. But shouts of "Gaby, Gaby" gave way to cheering by supporters for Sanchez Vicario, a sly and steady Spaniard.

Her fans chanted and waved Spanish flags, and at 4-4 in the second set, they broke into the sentimental song from "Evita."

"It was funny, because everybody was shouting for Sabatini," Sanchez Vicario said. "I laughed first, and then I concentrated on the game."

Sabatini glared at the source of the serenade.

"I didn't like that very much," she said. "To my country, that hurts sometimes."

The loss hurt, too. Sabatini came into the match with an 11-3 edge over Sanchez Vicario, momentum from a semifinal victory over Steffi Graf, and a shot at her third tournament title this year.

"Probably I overconfident myself a little bit," the third-ranked Sabatini said.

The result earned Sanchez Vicario $120,000 and Sabatini $60,000, but it cost Argentina a chance at a sweep this weekend. Alberto Mancini of Argentina plays Michael Chang of the United States in the men's final Sunday.

Sanchez Vicario will go for a sweep herself Sunday, playing in the doubles final with Natalia Zvereva against Jill Hetherington and Kathy Rinaldi.

The singles championship was Sanchez Vicario's biggest since winning the 1989 French Open. Though considered a clay-court specialist, her last two titles have been on hardcourts - she won the Virginia Slims of Washington last August.

The fifth-ranked Sanchez Vicario won every set on her way to the final, and said she deserves to be mentioned with the best in the game. But she was overlooked in a field that included top-ranked Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati, as well as Graf and Sabatini.

"It was not really fair, because they were talking about the others," Sanchez Vicario said. "Now for sure I know the people will talk about me, and that makes me happy."

Her steady groundstrokes spiced with perfect drop shots defused the aggressiveness Sabatini had shown in earlier matches. By the time the Argentine first ventured to the net, she was down two service breaks. She reached the net only eight times in the first set.