Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Del Potro Wears Down Ferrer To Reach Auckland Final

JuanMartindelPotro-Cropped Getty Images
Shannon Reynolds | 13 January, 2018, 11:31

Roberto Bautista Agut continued to shine in New Zealand when the Spaniard won his second Auckland Classic title with a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 victory over second seed Juan Martin Del Potro on Saturday.

"I was playing every match during the night and today was really hard, to play with this sun and humidity - I felt it a lot, in the start of the match".

Both players will now turn their attention to next week's Australian Open in Melbourne, where Bautista Agut will play compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the first round.

Del Potro beat Russian Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in his quarter-final. After almost three hours on court, the classic encounter was settled by a Bautista Agut lob that landed on the line, ending 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5)."Unfortunately the match can not have two winners and I'm so happy I won", said the relieved Spaniard, who sank to his knees at the end.

Del Potro had said beforehand he expected Bautista Agut would target his inconsistent backhand, but the Spaniard was also prepared to attack the forehand court when the opportunity presented itself.

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"I like to play here, I feel good being here in Auckland".

Yet the Argentinian second seed recovered to take out the second set and repeatedly come close in the third, only to be broken late and lose 7-5.

"I'm exhausted", Del Potro said in a court-side interview. "If I play well maybe I have a little chance". "I tried to have Juan Martin moving around the court". "Juan Martin is a great champion, he's very tough to beat, and I played two unbelievable games in the last two games of the match". Bautista broke again in the sixth game to lead 5-1 and comfortably served out the set in a game including his seventh ace.

Del Potro had the first break point of the match in Bautista's opening service game, after a rally lasting 32 shots. He again saved a break point before winning the set in 50 minutes.

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