Del Potro, Roberto to meet in Auckland final

Former US Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro faces future star Denis Shapovalov at the ASB Classic today

- Reuters picAUCKLAND, Jan 11 ― David Ferrer may be heading into the twilight of his career but the 35-year-old rolled back the years as he beat Hyeon Chung to cruise into the ATP Auckland Classic semi-finals today.

Del Potro will return to the world's top 10 for the first time since August 2014 next week and took a step closer to repeating his 2009 win in this tournament with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win against Karen Khachanov.

"I served really well in the second set and I tried to play aggressively".

On the other side of the draw, Ferrer's compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut appears a safe bet for the final, drawn for a semi-final against Robin Haase.

The two tour veterans last played in 2016, when del Potro knocked Ferrer out of the US Open in straight sets, and previously at Wimbledon in 2013.

But with all three sets going to a tiebreak, Bautista Agut's relentless accuracy and fitness came to the fore, helping him win in just under three hours.

Isner's powerful serve wasn't enough to save him in his match with Chung, the victor of last year's ATP Next Generation finals.

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

Del Potro - who'll head into the final as a red-hot favourite - hoped to lift the trophy once again, as he gears up for a 2018 Australian Open tilt.

"We have played many times and we always have good matches", Del Potro said of Ferrer, who is ranked 38th in the world but holds a 6-4 head-to-head record over the Argentine.

"I'll be OK for tomorrow, I have enough time to recover now - in the final, no pain matters, so I'll have to be focused on the game".

The second-seeded del Potro will aim for his first Classic title since 2009, while the 29-year-old Bautista Agut will seek his second crown in three years.

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