Sport

Del Potro, Bautista to meet in final By

Del Potro, Bautista to meet in final By

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. "Today's match was so close".

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.

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. After almost three hours on court, the classic encounter was settled by a Bautista Agut lob that landed on the line, ending 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5)."Unfortunately the match can not have two winners and I'm so happy I won", said the relieved Spaniard, who sank to his knees at the end.

The Spanish player swept through the first set in only 31 minutes as del Potro seemed to struggle in warm conditions on a packed center court.

Mate Pavic left and Oliver Marach celebrate
Mate Pavic left and Oliver Marach celebrate

"It's never easy against David because he runs a lot and he's a fighter", del Potro said. Juan Martin netted a backhand to get broken in game number 2 but he fired up his mighty forehand to get back on the track in the following game, breaking back with a volley victor and reducing the deficit to 2-1.

"I played well and I'm looking forward to doing well in Melbourne". I think I played very aggressive...

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.





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