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Defending champion returning to Auckland

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/09/2016

Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut is returning to Auckland in January in a bid to defend his ASB Classic tennis title.

Bautista, ranked 17th in the world, emerged victorious in a strong field to claim this year's title and has gone on to enjoy a solid 2016.

Tournament director Karl Budge says the 28-year-old has already indicated determination to lodge successive wins in Auckland following victory in a disappointing final against Jack Sock. The American pulled out with injury early in the second set.

Bautista's other tournament win in 2016 came at the Sofia Open in Bulgaria in February.

He exited in the quarterfinals at the Rio Olympics and reached at least the third round at the year's first three grand slam tournaments. He is seeded 15th at the US Open.

Budge said the field for the men's and women's tournaments would be finalised in late November.

The women's tournament runs from January 2-7 and the men's from January 9-14.

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