Bautista Agut Takes Auckland Title
No. 8 seed wins 3rd ATP crown as under-the-weather Sock retires in second set
It was a stacked draw that featured four former champions and four players in the Top 12 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. But 25th-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut was anything but intimidated at the ASB Classic.
The No. 8-seeded Spaniard defeated 2015 champ Jiri Vesely 6-3, 7-5 in the opening round; American Donald Young 6-4, 7-6(3) in the second round, two-time titlist John Isner 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in the quarters and No. 2 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the semis, saving a match point in the process. And on Saturday, he was simply too much for Jack Sock, who was still feeling the effects of flu-like symptoms and retired in the second set due to illness. The 6-1, 1-0 ret. Decision gave Bautista Agut the third title of his career.
“I feel so happy,” said Bautista Agut. “I think I had an amazing week. I had plenty of good wins, played wonderful tennis here. I feel sorry for Jack and I want to congratulate him because he had a really great year last year, and I want to wish him luck for the rest of this season.”
It wasn’t until the 17-minute mark, serving at 0-5, that Sock was able to get on the scoreboard. But as the American's body language clearly showed, he was struggling mightily. Between sets he likened his condition to “an out of body experience.”
“I don’t feel like I’m really here,” he said.
He opted to forge on, but after dropping his serve to open the second set, he walked to the net to announce his retirement.
Sock was appearing in his third ATP World Tour final, all of which have come in the last nine months. The 23-year-old won his first title in Houston before finishing as runner-up in Stockholm. Bautista Agut also reached two finals in 2015, falling in back-to-back weeks at Moscow and Valencia. The 27-year-old is now 3-4 overall in finals. He evened his FedEx ATP Head2Head history against Sock at 2-2. He will pocket $82,450 in prize money to go along with 250 points in the Emirates ATP Rankings.