AUCKLAND (Reuters) - 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.
The fifth seed, who clinched the title in 2016 but was unable to defend it last year due to illness, romped through the first set in 31 minutes as he broke his Argentine opponent three times and produced numerous forehand winners.
The second set went on serve with neither able to get a break point opportunity until the 10th game, which Del Potro seized upon to send the match into a decider when Bautista Agut hit a backhand into the net after a cagey baseline rally.
Neither player offered up many opportunities in the third set until the 11th game, when the Spaniard converted on the second of his break points to take a 6-5 lead and then held serve to triumph in a little more than two hours.
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, while Del Potro takes on American prospect Frances Tiafoe.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by John O'Brien