Del Potro, Bautista Agut to meet in ASB Classic final


Juan Martin del Potro says humid conditions have played a major role in his three-set Auckland Classic final loss to Roberto Bautista Agut.

"It was an unbelievable match today", said Bautista Agut, who was presented with a ceremonial "taiaha", or Maori wooden staff.

The fifth-seeded Bautista Agut dominated Saturday's first set, trumping del Potro with an unerringly accurate groundstroke game.

That was to be the last blip of the match for the Argentine, though, as he comfortably served out the first set and required just a single break in the second, saving five break points en route to victory.

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.

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.

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"I served really well in the second set and I tried to play aggressively with my forehand, and I think I did it".

"I didn't play another match during the day, so I felt a big difference in the weather, but it's not an excuse - I had my chances to win, too". He moved so much better than me from the baseline.

Earlier, fifth seed Bautista Agut outlasted Dutchman Robin Haase in an epic clash that took nearly three hours before the Spaniard produced an audacious backhand lob that kissed the baseline to clinch the 6-7 (7) 7-6 (3) 7-6 (5) win.

"David is a great fighter, we have a great relationship and it's going to be an interesting match to watch".

It was all about the Spaniard in the rest of the set, he held at 15 in game 5 with some stunning forehands and he cracked another victor from that wing to break Delpo once again, moving a game away from the opening set.


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