Latest 16 Oct 2018

Defending Champions return to the ASB Classic

by Rhonda Karl
Defending Champions return to the ASB Classic

The ASB Classic can confirm 2018 Women's champion and current world number nine Julia Goerges and Men's champion Roberto Bautista Agut will be returning to defend their titles next year.

Goerges carried on her sublime form after her win in Auckland, beating two top twenty players (Daria Kasatkina & Anastasija Sevastova) as well as US Open Champion Naomi Osaka, on route to the final of the Charleston Open in April.  The German powerhouse also added another three quarter-final (Moscow, Birmingham, Doha) and two semi-final appearances (New Haven, St Petersburg) to round out her career best year.

Her standout performance came on the grass courts of Wimbledon, where she reached her first Grand Slam semi-final, fighting through a number of three set matches before falling to 7-time Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams.

Goerges is looking forward to be returning to the City of Sails to kick off her 2019 season.

“I love playing in Auckland.  It is one of my favourite tournaments and the best peroration for the Australian Open.  I have had some great results there and I am very happy to be back as ASB Classic defending champion” said Goerges.

Like Goerges, Roberto Bautista Agut continued his winning form throughout 2018, capturing his biggest title of his career in Dubai, an ATP World Tour 500 event. The gutsy Spaniard made it to the final of Gstaad, another two semi-finals (St Petersburg & Halle) and two more quarter-finals (Munich & Barcelona) to round out his best results for the year.

ASB Classic Tournament Director Karl Budge says, clearly these two champions play some of their best tennis in Auckland and that’s why they’re crowd favourites.

“Everyone will remember Roberto’s epic semi-final battle against Robin Haase, and then to back that up the next day in the final against Juan Martin del Potro, it was extraordinary! In the women’s final, both Julia and Caroline were fighting for their maiden ASB Classic title with Julia coming out on top. It’s just so great to have both of our champs back to defend their titles.”

The ever-consistent Bautista Agut has been as high as 13 on the ATP world rankings, he’s won eight ATP titles in his career, two of which came in Auckland (2016 & 2018) and is looking to finish off the year strongly with a solid showing in Shanghai. The clay court specialist is currently ranked 25 in the world.

After thirteen years on the WTA tour, Goerges has won five singles titles and another five doubles titles. 2018 has been her best year to date, she’s broken inside the top ten, currently sitting at her career best ranking of 9 in the world, and is in the running to be named the WTA most improved player of the year.

ASB head of community and sponsorship Mark Graham says the return of the 2018 ASB Classic winners adds to an already impressive player field.
 
“We are thrilled that both champions from the 2018 ASB Classic are returning to defend their titles. Both players have been to Auckland numerous times, bring a lot of passion and quality to the tournament and have been very supportive off the court helping ASB engage with local charities. It will be great to have them back again for 2019.”  

The ASB Classic will span for two weeks; the women's tournament kicking off on December 31 to January 6 followed by the men’s tournament from January the 7 to 12. Tickets are available for purchase through Ticketek either online, over the phone on (0800 842 538) or in person at one of the agencies listed on the event website.

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