AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut won the ASB Classic singles title when his American opponent Jack Sock was forced to retire with illness while trailing 6-1, 1-0 in Saturday's final.
Sock said after his 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 semifinal win over top-seed and four-time champion David Ferrer that he came close to withdrawing from that match after waking Friday with "flu-like symptoms."
His illness had fully taken hold by the time of the final in hot conditions at the Auckland Tennis Center and Sock lasted only 28 minutes before being forced to retire.
He showed little energy during the first set which Bautista-Agut wrapped up in 20 minutes. Sock then had a long discussion with the tour trainer, doctor and supervisor before deciding to come for the second set.
He immediately dropped serve for the third time in the match and at that point signaled that he couldn't go on.
"I just want to tell everyone that, hey, I'm sorry that I couldn't finish the match," Sock said. "But I wanted to come out and at least attempt it.
"Like yesterday, you never know what can happen. I feel like I owed you guys at least an effort to come out here and play."
It was Bautista-Agut's third ATP Tour singles title after his wins in 2014 at Rosmalen and Stuttgart. Along the way he beat two former champions: defending champion Jiri Vesely in the opening round and two-time champion John Isner in the quarterfinals.
Bautista Agut then achieved one of his best wins when he beat second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals.
"I had an amazing week," Bautista Agut said. "I had many good wins and I was playing wonderful tennis here.
"Ifeel sorry for Jack. I want to congratulate him because he's in really good shape, he had an amazing year last year and I want to wish him good luck for the rest of the season."
Bautista Agut said his win over Tsonga sent him into the final full of confidence. He quickly recognized his opponent was ailing and moved Sock around the court until the American was forced to withdraw.
"After a win like yesterday, it's one of the matches you dream of when you're young," he said. "It's why you're working so hard, to play these matches with amazing atmosphere, with the crowd in the night matches is the best."