Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut has won his second ASB Classic men's singles title in three years, holding off the most valiant of Juan Martin del Potro fightbacks to take out Saturday's final 6-1 4-6 7-5.
The fifth-seeded Bautista Agut dominated the first set in every aspect, trumping del Potro with an unerringly accurate ground-stroke game he couldn't repel.
Yet at 4-4 in the second set, something clicked for del Potro.
Where he had previously struggled to handle Bautista Agut's swiftness, he began to take the ascendancy with big serves and even bigger forehands.
He soon after secured the second set 6-4, breaking Bautista Agut at the death, before the two players went blow-for-blow in the deciding set.
Having failed to serve a single ace in the first set or hold serve, del Potro slammed nine aces in the following two sets and improved his first-serve rate.
But in the end, it was the world No.12 who blinked first.
Bautista Agut earned the championship-deciding break at 5-5 before overcoming del Potro's best efforts to serve out the match and lift the trophy.
Acrossthe match, he won four of five break points.
He had previously won the Auckland title in 2016, and defeated Kiwi Michael Venus, Steve Johnson, Jiri Vesely and Robin Haase on his way to the final.
Both players will now head to the Australian Open.