Bautista Agut looking beyond history

Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut is reading little into his one previous match against American Jack Sock in Auckland on the ATP Tour.

Bautista Agut won their quarter-final in 2014, but says things have changed since then.

“I think we’re better players,” he said.

“We have more experience than two years ago and we’re definitely better ranked players.”

Then ranked 73rd, Bautista Agut came into this week’s ASB Classic as the world No.25 and the eighth seed.

Sock has gone from No.100 to No.26 over the same period. He has also won the two other encounters between the pair, both last year.

The two men will meet again in the Classic final on Saturday, after both pulled off semi-final upsets.

Bautista Agut, 27, will be chasing his third ATP title.

To counter Sock, he is looking for a repeat of the lift in intensity he showed in the second half of his 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 win over second-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday.

“He’s playing really aggressive, he’s serving well and he’s going for his shots a lot,” he said of Sock.

Sock, who has one ATP title, booked his place by downing top seed and four-time Auckland champion David Ferrer of Spain 3-6 6-1 6-2.

The 23-year-old battled a virus he has been suffering for the past two days to turn around the momentum against Ferrer.

He hadn’t been sure earlier in the day whether he would be able to make it on court.

“I didn’t want to pull the plug, especially in an ATP semi,” he said.

“One of my goals this year is to compete to win titles. I’ve put myself in that position this week. I hope I can feel better [on Saturday].”

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