Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut and American Jack Sock have produced twin upsets to set up a showdown in the ASB Classic final.
Eighth seed Bautista Agut booked his place in the decider on Saturday by downing second-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.
Earlier on Friday, Sock overcame illness to beat top seed David Ferrer of Spain 3-6 6-1 6-2.
Along the way, the world No.26 produced a second act of notable sportsmanship in as many weeks, calling in a Ferrer serve that had been ruled as out.
It followed a similar move by him in a Hopman Cup match against Australian Lleyton Hewitt last week.
Tsonga, the world No.10, took the first set of his semi-final before his Spanish opponent, who continued to rise up the rankings in 2015 rallied.
Bautista Agut began to lift during the second set, and saved a match point serving at 30-40 and 5-6, before hitting the front early in the tie-break.
Bautista Agut – who had eliminated American John Isner, a two-time champion and the No.3 seed in the previous round – had break chances at 4-3 in the third, but couldn’t take advantage.
But Tsonga was under pressure again in his next service game and, facing his second match point, pushed a backhand into the net.
Sock’s victory came after the 23-year-old spent a second day battling a virus.
World No.8 Ferrer, whose four Auckland crowns is the most in the Open era, was making his seventh appearance in the tournament’s semi-finals.
The 33-year-old Spaniard dominated the opening set and one break was enough for him to hit the front.
Down 2-3 and 0-40, Sock produced two big serves, including a second-serve ace, to pull two points back but his opponent responded with a pin-point forehand winner.
Things looked ominous when Sock called for medical advice after the opening set, but he then turned the match around.
He began to find his range with his ground strokes, and aces – 13 in all – started coming off his racquet with greater frequency.
Ferrer hadn’t been broken in his two previous matches this week, but dropped serve twice in both the second and third sets.