Heat a factor in del Potro's NZ final loss

JuanMartindelPotro-Cropped

JuanMartindelPotro-Cropped

Second-seeded del Potro, champion in 2009, beat four-time champion and eight-time semifinalist David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4 in just under two hours Friday while Bautista Agut, the 2016 champion, defeated Robin Haase 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in a three-hour marathon.

Bautista Agut found the right rhythm early on and he outplayed del Potro completely in the opening set, winning 66% of the return points and racing through the set with 3 breaks of serve.

But, the Argentine second seed recovered to take out the second set and repeatedly come close in the third, only to be broken late to lose the decider 7-5.

"Juan Martin is very tough to beat and I think I just played two unbelievable games at the end of the match".

Juan Martin del Potro shrugged off his loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in the ATP Auckland Classic final on Saturday and declared himself ready for the Australian Open.

"I started the match very well".

A star attraction at this year's Classic, world No.12 del Potro was scheduled for night matches on each day and felt unprepared for his afternoon final.

Bautista Agut broke Haase in the seventh game of the second set but Haase immediately broke back and the set again went to a tiebreak.

He romped through the first set in 31 minutes as he broke Del Potro three times and produced numerous forehand winners. I think the crowd enjoyed the game. "But then my game improved a little bit and I made mistakes in the last game", del Potro said. I've been fighting a lot on the court... "I tried to have Juan Martin moving around the court".

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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