football on twitter
Please wait while we load football on twitter...
Australia's Bernard Tomic battled his way to a maiden ATP Tour title, with a three-set victory over Kevin Anderson in the Sydney International.
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.
The win crowned the 20-year-old's 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 is now set to rise as many as 20 places, and inside the world top-50, before next week's Australian Open.
Tomic 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.
"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 Anderson got his serve right on song 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.
The big-serving South African caved to Tomic's pressure in the decider, however, 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.
Tomic became the first Australian to win an ATP Tour title since Lleyton Hewitt in June 2010 and the first 20-year-old to win this title since Roger Federer in 2002.