Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut has cruised into the ASB Classic semi-finals with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 win over Czech Jiri Vesely in Auckland.
"It was a great finish and when I saw that last ball in I went insane", Bautista Agut said.
An unbelievable forehand down the line victor 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.
A star attraction at this year's Classic, world No.12 del Potro was scheduled for night matches on each day and felt unprepared for his afternoon final.
Unlike del Potro who had a tough semi-final against Spain's David Ferrer, fellow Spaniard Bautista Agut had an easier run through the tournament on the same side of the draw where first and third seeds Jack Sock and Sam Querrey lost in the early rounds. 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.
Despite his loss, Argentinian Del Potro - who was eyeing a 21st ATP crown - is set to return to the top 10 in the rankings.
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". I've been fighting a lot on the court, and I couldn't believe I was playing my best tennis.
"Roberto played solid in the last two games of the match - that was key". "It's a good start for me", he said.
"And then I think my game improved a little bit. I tried to have Juan Martin moving around the court".
Del Potro had the first break point of the match in Bautista's opening service game, after a rally lasting 32 shots.
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