A rejuvenated Bernard Tomic captured his first ATP title with a gutsy three-set win over South African Kevin Anderson at the Sydney International last night.
The rising Australian continued his remarkable transformation as he saw off a stubborn Anderson 6-4, 6-7 (7-2), 6-3 at Sydney Olympic Park in his first ATP final.
The win ensures Tomic will climb more than 20 places, possibly as high as No.43, when the Australian Open starts tomorrow, reclaiming the Australian No.1 ranking over Marinko Matosevic.
He is the ninth Australian winner of the Sydney event and the first since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005, and becomes the first 20-year-old to hoist the trophy since Roger Federer in 2002.
Tomic was honoured to collect his first tour win in front of Australian tennis legend Ken Rosewall and paid tribute to his father and coach John and support team for sticking by him.
"It's an amazing feeling ... it's been a long road and finally I've got one of these trophies," Tomic said.
"It took a while but thanks for having me by your side.
"Hopefully this is not the last tournament I can win."
The win was Tomic's eighth straight and completed a remarkable Open preparation.
He shocked world No.1 Novak Djokovic, Tommy Haas (20) and Andreas Seppi (22) at the Hopman Cup in Perth, before beating higher-ranked players Matosevic (47), Florian Mayer (26), Seppi and Anderson (36) in Sydney.
As had been the case all week, Tomic showed little signs of nerves as he began strongly against big-serving Anderson.
Tomic broke the towering South African's serve in the second game, racing to a 3-0 lead, and served well at crucial times to seal the first set in just 27 minutes.
He was made to work much harder in the second set, as Anderson reeled off three consecutive service games without conceding a point.
But Tomic closed out comfortably in the third and dropped to kiss the blue Sydney court in celebration.
He will begin his Open campaign on Tuesday against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.