Roberto Bautista Agut beats Juan Martin del Potro to win ASB Classic

Auckland Final

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 Auckland Classic yesterday. But both times Del Potro was able to rely on his running forehand to save himself and at 4-4 he broke the Spaniard before successfully serving for the match.

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. 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.

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A red-hot favourite for the match, the world No.21 found valiant opposition in Haase, who recovered from a poor start to win the first set.

"I played well and I'm looking forward to doing well in Melbourne". I've been fighting a lot on the court, and I couldn't believe I was playing my best tennis.

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But the lanky Argentine lived up to his never-say-die attitude and rallied back in the second set, taking advantage of the only break point in the set to force a decider.

"Today the conditions were hard and he was a hard opponent, serving very well and a lefty, playing with a very flat backhand", Bautista Agut said. I think the crowd enjoyed the game.

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"It's wonderful to me to be playing tennis again after my wrist problems", Del Potro added. "You never know what will happen but I took my chances and got through". "I tried to have Juan Martin moving around the court". He again saved a break point before winning the set in 50 minutes.

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