Juan Martin Del Potro and Roberto Bautista Agut reach the final in Auckland

Juan Martin Del Potro and Roberto Bautista Agut reach the final in Auckland

Juan Martin Del Potro beat four-time winner David Ferrer 6-4 6-4 after one hour and 46 minutes in the semifinals to reach the final at the ASB Classic in Auckland. Del Potro, who will return to the top-ten in the ATP Rankings, has moved into the final in Auckland nine years after winning the title in his only appearance at this tournament in 2009 to start a magic season in which he clinched his maiden Grand Slam title in New York. In the final Del Potro will face Roberto Bautista Agut.

Juan Del Potro served at 46 %, saved six of the seven break points and broke serve three times.

Del Potro got an immediate break, but Ferrer broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. In the seventh game Del Potro converted on his second break point to seal the opening set after 50 minutes.

In the second set Ferrer (four-time winner in Auckland in 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013) earned two break points in the fourth game at 2-1 and three more opportunities in the eighth game at 4-3. Del Potro saved these five opportunities before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game with a forehand winner to take a 5-4 lead. Del Potro served for the match in the next game.

“The difference was a couple of points and I got lucky to break his serve twice in the first set. Then I saved break points in the second set and played good tennis with strokes down the line. I had to take risks against David, who is a fighter. I am tired, but I will be okay for tomorrow and have time to recover”, said Del Potro.

Del Potro returns to the Auckland final nine years after his triumph in his only appearance at this tournament in 2009 when he beat Sam Querrey.

“I feel exhausted after a big fight. I am happy to have reached the final again after nine years, playing good tennis against one of the toughest guys on Tour. I am excited to play the final tomorrow after all the problems I had in my career. It will be difficult for me for sure. I would like to repeat my 2009 title, but Bautista Agut is a dangerous player with experience in finals and he has beaten me in the past”, said Del Potro.

Del Potro’s rival in tomorrow’s final will be Spanish player Roberto Bautista Agut, who will be bidding to win his second title in Auckland. Bautista Agut fought back from losing the first set to battle past Robin Haase 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) after two hours and 52 minutes in a thrilling semifinal. Bautista has reached his 13th career final and his second title match in Auckland two years after lifting the title at this tournament.

Haase rallied from 0-3 down to claw his way into the match. He saved three set points as Bautista Agut was leading 6-5. Haase fended off another set point to win a hard-fought tie-break by 9-7. The second set went on serve until the seventh game when Bautista Agut got the break. Haase broke streak back in the next game setting up another tie-break. Bautista dominated the break by 7-3 forcing the match to the tie-break. Bautista broke serve to open up a 4-1 lead in the decider. Haase rallied from 0-30 down to broke straight back for 2-4. Haase pulled the second break back to set up a third tie-break. Bautista earned the first mini-break and sealed the win on his first match point with a backhand lob.

“When I saw the ball in, I went crazy. I am so happy that I won. It was an unbelievable battle on the court”, said Bautista Agut.

Del Potro leads 3-1 in his four head-to-head matches against Bautista Agut, but the Spanish player won their first clash in five sets in Melbourne in 2014.

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