Australian Open: Survival of the fittest as 'open' season starts down under
14 January, 2018, 15:38
And when the championship was on the line against second seed Juan Martin del Potro, the Spaniard came through once more to capture his second Auckland crown (also 2016), battling past Del Potro 6-1, 4-6, 7-5. "I gave everything I have on the court this week", said Bautista Agut, who battled for more than two hours against Del Potro and almost three hours during his semi-final against Robin Haase.
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.
He then blitzed the second set, unleashing his trademark ground-stroke game and playing relentlessly accurate shots to settle the match.
"I was playing every match during the night and today was really hard, to play with this sun and humidity - I felt it a lot, in the start of the match".
"Juan Martin is very tough to beat and I think I just played two fantastic games at the end of the match".
But del Potro, projected to rise to 10 in the world rankings next week, said he was pleased with his performance as he fights his way back from wrist injuries. "Juan Martin is a great champion, he's very tough to beat and I played two incredible games in the last two games of the match".
"Today I improved my level - I played much better tennis on this day, was very concentrated and played a good match", the 29-year-old Bautista Agut said.
"I'll have time enough to be ready, to get there, have some rest and try to practise a little bit, to get the body ready for a grand slam", Bautista Agut said. "Roberto is a great champion so congratulations to him".
"It was a good start of the year for me". Looking in top form, the fifth seed was strolling through the first set while del Potro had troubles finding the rhythm on his big forehands. Del Potro finally earned comfortable service holds while Bautista Agut remained firm on the baseline and did not seem to let loose anytime soon.