Auckland: David Ferrer rekindled his love affair with New Zealand to defend his Auckland Classic title with a 6-3 6-4 win over Belgium's Olivier Rochus on Saturday.

The Spanish world number five's victory secured his third title in Auckland and provided a timely boost ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on Monday. He also won in 2007.

Ferrer, seeded fifth in Melbourne, was a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year and faces Portugal's world number 69 Rui Machado in the first round.