Tomic wins first title at Sydney International

LIAM FITZGIBBON
Last updated 00:19 13/01/2013

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A rejuvenated Bernard Tomic captured his  first ATP title with a gutsy three-set win over South African Kevin  Anderson at the Sydney International on Saturday 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 begins on Monday, reclaiming the Australian No.1 ranking over Marinko Matosevic.

He is the ninth Australian winner of the Sydney event and 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.

Tomic kept his cool, defusing a break point trailing 4-3, but  Anderson was always in control of the tiebreak, winning it 7-2 to  level the scores.

The Australian failed to convert any of three break points in  the fourth game of the deciding set by finally converted his  seventh of the set when Anderson double faulted to give Tomic a 5-3  lead.
He closed out comfortably and dropped to kiss the blue Sydney  court in celebration.

Tomic will begin his Open campaign on Tuesday against  Argentina's Leonardo Mayer and could meet Federer if he reaches the  third round.

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He will head to Melbourne Park with a fresh wave of support and  many new admirers following a controversial end to 2012, where he  slipped from a career-high ranking of 27 and faced criticism over  his attitude and off-court behaviour.

- AAP

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