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Bautista Agut gunning for Classic triumph

13 January 2018

Juan Martin del Potro overcame a stubborn challenge from David Ferrer to clinch their semi-final 6-4 6-4 and advance to a title showdown against Roberto Bautista Agut in the ASB Classic men's tennis tournament in Auckland.

Defending champion Sock lost in only 61 minutes to his German opponent, who is ranked 65th in the world.

"I didn't expect to play at this level in the first match of the year".

Like the dynamic Ferrer, del Potro also managed to keep himself in the hunt, saving six break points and frustrating the Spaniard with his staying power.

Cutting a slightly lumbering figure, del Potro was nevertheless effective against the young gun Shapovalov, who made too many unforced errors.

"I tried to not make mistakes, play in the right places, try and play as hard as possible with all the pressure", Bautista Agut said of the third-set tiebreak.

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"I'm just so pleased to be able to make another final".

The world number 21 emerged victorious 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5), with his win sealed in magnificent fashion as Bautista Agut somehow landed an audacious backhand lob inside the baseline.

With all three sets going to tiebreak, the unerringly accurate Bautista Agut admitted he was feeling more than a touch tired on Friday.

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

"It was a great finish and when I saw that last ball in I went insane", Bautista Agut said. "It was an unbelievable battle on the court".

"I didn't have my best serving day which didn't help, got some free points but not as many as I'd like - it's a rusty first match, you've got to get the cobwebs off".

Bautista Agut gunning for Classic triumph