Canadian teen Denis Shapovalov aims for maiden title in 2018

Canadian teen Denis Shapovalov aims for maiden title in 2018

Canadian teen Denis Shapovalov aims for maiden title in 2018

And there could be more where that came from if the fifth-seeded Spaniard upsets Classic men's singles favourite Juan Martin del Potro in Saturday's final.

There were no break points in the first set but the Argentinian managed to break the Russian's first serve in the second set and felt it was an encouraging performance ahead of facing Ferrer.

Former U.S. Open champion Del Potro fired down 11 aces and did not face a break point during the one hour, 33 minutes match.

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

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Del Potro, who sealed the Auckland title in 2009, shone in the key moments and fought off six of the seven break points Ferrer forged in a tense clash, with two games in the second set lasting nearly 10 minutes apiece.

"I tried to play consistent and aggressive because, with Chung, he plays with power, and it's never easy", Ferrer said afterwards on court.

"Bautista Agut is a risky player, he has experience in finals and he beat me in the past (at the 2014 Australian Open), so it's going to be hard".

In preparation for the Australian Open, starting January 15, Del Potro proved just too strong for the Canadian and won 6-2, 6-4.

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Bautista Agut cruised into Friday's semi-finals with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 win over Czech Jiri Vesely, while Haase trumped giant-killing German Peter Gojowczyk.

"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.

"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.

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