Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut has beaten Jack Sock to take the title at the ASB Classic tournament in Auckland, one of the warm-up tournaments for the Australian Open.
The 25th-ranked to Bautista Agut came out top in an impressive field containing four former champions and four top 12 players, beating last year's champion Jiri Vesely 6-3, 7-5 in the opening round; American Donald Young 6-4, 7-6 in the second round; two-time champion John Isner 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in the quarters; and No. 2 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the semis, saving a match point in the process.
Saturday's final saw Jack Sock still feeling the effects of a flu-like illness and the Amercian retired in the opening stages of the second set due to illness. His decision gave Bautista Agut the third title of his career.
“I feel so happy,” said Bautista Agut. “I think I had an amazing week. I had plenty of good wins, played wonderful tennis here. I feel sorry for Jack and I want to congratulate him because he had a really great year last year, and I want to wish him luck for the rest of this season.”
Sock didn't get onto the scoreboard until nearly 20 minutes into the match, when he managed to hold serve for 1-5. But his body language clearly betrayed the physical struggle he was suffering, and afterwards he likened his condition to “an out of body experience.”
“I don’t feel like I’m really here,” he said.
He opted to carry on, but after dropping his serve to open the second set, he walked to the net to announce his retirement.
Bautista Agut also reached two finals back-to-back in 2015 - first in Moscow and then in Valencia. The 27-year-old is now 3-4 overall in finals.