Juan Martin del Potro reached his third final in his last four tournaments when he beat David Ferrer in straight sets to set up an Auckland Classic decider against Robert Bautista Agut today.
Like the dynamic Ferrer, del Potro also managed to keep himself in the hunt, saving six break points and frustrating the Spaniard with his staying power.
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.
"I was surprised by the match today", said Del Potro, who had lost to Shapovalov in Montreal last August.
"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".
But with all three sets going to a tiebreak, Bautista Agut's relentless accuracy and fitness came to the fore, helping him win in just under three hours.
The world number 21 emerged victorious 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5), with his win sealed in magnificent fashion as Bautista Agut somehow landed an audacious backhand lob inside the baseline.
"Unfortunately the match can not have two winners and I'm so happy I won", said the relieved Spaniard, who sank to his knees at the end.
Del Potro will next be up against Russian Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals, who has quickly been rising through the ranks recently.
"I tried to serve hard to hit hard with my forehand, to play some slices and drop shots, it's never easy against David because he runs a lot and he's a fighter".
Top-seeded and defending champion Jack Sock bowed out of the ATP Tour's ASB Classic in its second round Wednesday, beaten 6-3, 6-3 by unseeded German Peter Gojowczyk on a bad day for American players. I know it's very hard.
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