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.
In what proved a sterner test than his first-up victory against equally youthful Denis Shapovalov, del Potro on Thursday dominated all of the key moments to win 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.
There were no break points in the first set but the Argentinian managed to break the Russian's first serve in the second set and felt it was an encouraging performance ahead of facing Ferrer.
"I served really well in the second set and I tried to play aggressively".
While del Potro was trumped by the Spaniard in 2014, he has since beaten him three times, including at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 US Open.
On the other side of the draw, Ferrer's compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut appears a safe bet for the final, drawn for a semi-final against Robin Haase.
"It was a great finish and when I saw that last ball in I went insane", Bautista Agut said.
Bautista Agut broke Haase in the seventh game of the second set but Haase immediately broke back and the set again went to a tiebreak.
"We've played many matches on tour - his forehand is pretty good, serves are good and returns so well, so I must be smart", the world No.12 del Potro said.
"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".
However, with top seed American Jack Sock knocked out by German Peter Gojowczyk, Del Potro will be the favourite for the title.
"But I've been working hard to play this tennis and hopefully I can still improve in the next matches".
"I'll be OK for tomorrow, I have enough time to recover now - in the final, no pain matters, so I'll have to be focused on the game".