Roberto Bautista Agut won his second Auckland Classic title on Saturday as he battled past Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in the final. "I don't have anything to lose at this time of my career - I'm going to be top 10 again after big problems with my wrists", del Potro said.
"Roberto played solid in the last two games of the match - that was key".
"Unfortunately the match can't have two winners", an exhausted Bautista Agut said after the two hour, 52 minute clash. "It's a good start of the year for me".
Former U.S. Open champion Del Potro fired down 11 aces and did not face a break point during the one hour, 33 minutes match.
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.
Bautista Agut earned the championship-deciding break at 5-5 before overcoming del Potro's best efforts to serve out the match and lift the trophy. "I gave everything I have on the court this week", said Bautista Agut.
The fifth-seeded Bautista Agut dominated the first set in every aspect, trumping del Potro with an unerringly accurate ground-stroke game he couldn't repel.
Unlike del Potro who had a tough semi-final against Spain's David Ferrer, fellow Spaniard Bautista Agut had an easier run through the tournament on the same side of the draw where first and third seeds Jack Sock and Sam Querrey lost in the early rounds.
"Juan Martin is very tough to beat and I think I just played two incredible games at the end of the match". "I didn't expect to make a final in my first tournament of the year and I am looking forward to Melbourne".
Bautista Agut booked his spot in the Classic final with a 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) win over the journeyman Haase, battling from beginning to end. Bautista Agut will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and $89,435 in prize money and is projected to remain at No. 21 in the ATP Rankings.