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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Under-fire Puerta beaten in Japan
Mariano Puerta
Top seed Mariano Puerta crashed out of the Japan Open on Thursday before again denying claims that he failed a drugs test at the French Open.

Puerta lost 6-2 6-7 (9-11) 7-5 to unseeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus in the third round in Tokyo.

The defeat followed French newspaper L'Equipe's report on Wednesday that the Argentine tested positive for the stimulant etilifrine in Paris.

"I have not taken any illegal substances as reported," said Puerta.

"I was suspended two years ago and would never do anything like that again."

He added: "The allegations didn't effect me. I played as well as I could. He just played better."

Puerta, who reached the final at Roland Garros, has previously served a nine-month drugs ban so he could face a life ban if the test is confirmed.

And he ruled out suggestions that he took cold medicine before Roland Garros, while admitting he saw a doctor and took an anti-inflammatory between the semi-finals and the final.

"I did not have a cold before or during the French Open," said Puerta. "I didn't take any cold medicine at that time."

The ATP, the governing body of men's tennis, has not confirmed the positive test.


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