Bautista Agut into Auckland tennis final

Angelique Kerber of Germany with the trophy after beating Ashley Barty of Australia in the women's singles final of the Sydney International tennis tournament. AFP

Spain's Ferrer, a four-time Auckland champion, disposed of the young Korean 6-3, 6-2 in their quarter-final match to set up a showdown with Juan Martin del Potro in the final four. 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.

Del Potro is seeded 12th in the Australian Open with Bautista Agut 20th, but it was the Spaniard who was in command in Auckland.

He targeted the Argentinian's backhand with confidence and when he switched to the forehand court del Potro's return placement was off in the first set.

Speaking on court afterwards, Del Potro, who won the title in Auckland in 2009, said: "I'm exhausted, I'm so glad to be in the final after 10 [nine] years".

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"I have been fighting all week and felt like I wasn't playing good tennis but today I did".

"It was a great finish and when I saw that last ball in I went insane", Bautista Agut said.

But the lanky Argentine lived up to his never-say-die attitude and rallied back in the second set, taking advantage of the only break point in the set to force a decider. "We played a great match".

Juan Martin raised his game after a awful start, facing just 2 break points in the rest of the match, and he even had a chance to send the match into a deciding tie break, wasting a break point in the last game of the match that could increase his odds of winning the first Auckland title in 9 years. I think I played very aggressive... "You never know what will happen but I took my chances and got through". He moved so much better than me from the baseline. Juan Martin was there to fight until the final point, creating a break point that could set up the deciding tie break, but he was denied by an ace from Roberto, one of his most important shots of the day.

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