Ferrer, del Potro to meet in ASB Classic semifinal

  • Ferrer, del Potro to meet in ASB Classic semifinal

Ferrer, del Potro to meet in ASB Classic semifinal

Seventh-seeded Ferrer, who is yet to drop a set in the event, needed 75 minutes to defeat Chung 6-3, 6-2 and set up a meeting against Argentine second seed Juan Martin del Potro next.

Indeed, after looking near-unstoppable in his two previous matches, it was by no means a vintage performance by the soon-to-be world No 10. Del Potro clearly overpowered the 18-year-old firing eight aces.

In what is expected to be his last Auckland dig, though, he has everything to play for.

The 35-year-old Spaniard, who slipped to world No 37 after enduring a hard 2017, attempted to downplay that potentially positive omen, revealing he spends more time (two-to-three hours) recovering from matches than playing these days.

Roberto Bautista Agut unleashes a forehand during the semifinal against Robin Haase. When I beat Juan Martin del Potro I was top 10 now the top 10 is him and not me.

Bautista Agut, meanwhile, beat Robin Haase in three sets, all of which went to tie-breaks in a near three-hour slugfest.

"The difference was only a couple of points. If I play well maybe I have a little chance".

But regardless of whether he comes back or not, Auckland will always hold a special place in his heart.

Roberto Bautista Agut returns a serve during the final
Roberto Bautista Agut returns a serve during the final

"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". "I have really good memories and I hope I'll be here next year".

As a result, the Auckland field is cleared for the 29-year-old del Potro, who becomes a red-hot favourite to lift his first Classic title since 2009.

The sky seemed to be the limit at that stage.

"It's fantastic to me to be playing tennis again after my wrist problems", Del Potro added.

He brushed off suggestions of indifference post-match. "We played a great match". "It was an unbelievable battle on the court". "He made me play uncomfortable". "I'm so happy that I won".

The world No 21 is one of the more reserved players at the tournament, but the emotion poured out after his perfectly weighted lob landed on the line to finally seal the result.

"I'm just so pleased to be able to make another final". "I passed very bad moments on the court and that moment I screamed because I was very stressed".

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.