Ferrer, del Potro to meet in ASB Classic semifinal

Bautista Agut

But it was Del Potro who was the more clinical in taking his chances, coming through to claim a 6-4 6-4 triumph that sets up a showpiece with another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut.

Like the dynamic Ferrer, del Potro also managed to keep himself in the game, saving six break points and frustrating the Spaniard with his staying power.

Del Potro looked in top form ahead of the Australian Open with his second straight-sets victory, having beaten Canadian teenage star Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-4 in the second round.

In Saturday's decider, the injury-plagued world No.12 will face Bautista Agut, who did it the hard way against Robin Haase, winning their semi-final 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5).

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The final set remained with serve until Bautista Agut broke at 5-5 and then served for the match.

"Today the conditions were hard and he was a hard opponent, serving very well and a lefty, playing with a very flat backhand", Bautista Agut said. "It was an unbelievable battle on the court". Every weapon in their armoury was on display, with Haase even switching his racquet from the right toleft hand to reach shots swinging away down the backhand side.Del Potro and Ferrer's rallies were generally shorter as they slugged it out from the base line.

With all three sets going to tiebreak, the unerringly accurate Bautista Agut admitted he was feeling more than a touch worn out on Friday.

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