Tennis: Defending champion returning to ASB Classic

Roberto Bautista Agut. Photo / Doug Sherring
Roberto Bautista Agut. Photo / Doug Sherring

2016 men's ASB Classic champion Roberto Bautista-Agut will be returning to defend his title.

The world No 17 backed up his Auckland success with a second ATP World Tour title for the season in Sofia, Bulgaria, and has twice reached the round of 16 at Grand Slams this year - at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, where he took a set off world No 1 Novak Djokovic.

Bautista-Agut captured the Auckland crown off the back of a stunning week which saw him beat two former champions (Jiri Vesely, 2014 and John Isner 2012 & 2015) as well as World Number 10, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to lifting the trophy.

A solid showing at the Rio Olympics earnt him a spot in the quarter finals, going down to eventual silver medallist Juan-Martin Del Potro whilst he was runner-up at Winston Salem last week - the final tune-up event prior to this week's US Open.

The crafty right hander came through a potentially tricky first round encounter against compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and will be back in action against Argentine Frederico Delbonis. A potential collision course with Rafael Nadal awaits in the fourth round.

"Roberto is a very solid player in the same vein as someone like David Ferrer. He has four ATP titles and uniquely one on each of the three surfaces. He has had a very solid year and it is a great way to start what is going to be a huge year for the ASB Classic," said Tournament Director Karl Budge.

- NZ Herald

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