2016 Auckland champion Roberto Bautista Agut regained his crown after a 6-1 4-6 7-5 victory against the second seed Juan Martin del Potro in 2 hours and 7 minutes, claiming his 7th ATP title in a career. Spaniard won just 8 points more than his opponent, despite a one-sided opening set where he broke Delpo 3 times, and he earned the triumph with a late break in the 11th game of the final set.
Juan Martin raised his game after a terrible 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.
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. 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 winner and reducing the deficit to 2-1.
Still, he failed to make an impact with his serve and Bautista Agut broke again in game 4 to open up a 3-1 lead, controlling the points from the baseline and getting some errors from his opponent who still struggled to gain his range.
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 winner from that wing to break Delpo once again, moving a game away from the opening set. He delivered another nice hold in the 7th game to wrap up the set in an impressive way after just 30 minutes.
The Argentine had to change something on the court and in a rather quick manner if he wanted to get back in contention, and he started to serve better in set number 2, cutting the number of errors and enduring the baseline encounters with his strong opponent.
Roberto did nothing wrong in the first 8 games either, dropping just 4 points on serve in the opening 4 games, and he served to stay in the set in game 10. Out of sudden, Juan Martin created the only break point of the set and he defended his backhand nicely in the following point to get an error from Bautista Agut, clinching the set by 6-4 and sending the match into a decider.
There, both players held with ease in the first 10 games, hitting some powerful forehand winners like that one that kept Roberto in the match in the 10th game when he served to prolong the final. Del Potro served better and better as the match progressed and he dropped just 3 points in 5 service games, with another solid hold presumably coming up in game 11.
Instead of that, he double faulted and made a backhand mistake to offer his rival 2 break points, with Bautista Agut converting the second one to gain a 6-5 lead and serve for the title in the next game. 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.
An amazing forehand down the line winner moved Bautista Agut a point away from the crown and he sealed the deal when del Potro sent a forehand long, celebrating his second title in Auckland and the 7th in a career. Final result: