Bernard Tomic beat Kevin Anderson in the Sydney International final on Saturday
Bernard Tomic beat Kevin Anderson in three sets in the Sydney International final to clinch his first ATP Tour title.
Last Updated: 13/01/13 2:32pm
Tomic eked out a 6-3 6-7 (7/2) 6-3 triumph over the 36th-ranked South African in one hour and 55 minutes.
He is the first Australian winner of the Sydney tournament since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the first 20-year-old event winner since Roger Federer in 2002.
The win crowned his recent resurgence and recaptured the imagination of the Australian public following his public spat with Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter.
The former Wimbledon quarter-finalist will now head into Monday's Australian Open with his ranking down to around 43 and with a chance of facing the 17-time Grand Slam champion and second seed Federer in the third round in Melbourne.
"It's an amazing feeling... it's been a long road and finally I've got one of these trophies," Tomic said in an on-court interview in which he addressed the crowd afterwards.
"It took a while but thanks for having me by your side. Hopefully this is not the last tournament I can win."
Anderson conceded four break point chances in the opening set, and Tomic pounced on the one he needed to wrap up the set, much to the pleasure of the Sydney crowd.
But the powerful South African was on song on his own delivery in the second set, winning all bar two of his points on serve, including all 21 behind his first ball to win it in a tie-breaker.
However, the big-serving Anderson caved to Tomic's pressure in the decider, double-faulting to hand the Australian a 5-3 lead, and the local hope was able to serve it out in style.
Tomic won 16 of 18 points on his first serve in the final set and it proved a decisive serving performance.
He has enjoyed almost ideal preparation for the season-opening grand slam after shocking world number one Novak Djokovic at the Hopman Cup in Perth, before beating countryman Marinko Matosevic (47), Florian Mayer (26) and Andreas Seppi (22) this week.