BRISBANE (AFP) - Scotland's Andy Murray called on all his experience to defeat rising Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7/0), 6-4 and retain his Brisbane International title on Sunday.
In a high-class final, Murray came from 4-1 down in the first set and a break in the second to subdue the challenge of the talented Dimitrov.
The 87-minute victory gave Murray his 25th ATP career title and was the perfect preparation for the Australian Open beginning in just over a week.
But he was made to work hard for the win by Dimitrov, whose playing style and classical one-handed backhand has drawn comparisons with the great Roger Federer.
It was Dimitrov's backhand that initially caused problems for the reigning US Open champion, who had trouble dealing with the amount of slice the Bulgarian was getting on the ball.
Dimitrov, playing in his first ATP final, broke Murray's first service game and looked untroubled on his own serve until serving for the set at 5-4, when he faltered and allowed the Scotsman back into the match.
Murray took his chance and stormed through the tiebreak without dropping a point, his powerful groundstrokes forcing Dimitrov onto the back foot and into error.
Dimitrov had another great chance in the second set when he broke Murray in the seventh game to go ahead 4-3, only for the world number three to hit back immediately.
Murray held his own serve to go to 5-4, then broke again to take the title when a Dimitrov backhand sailed long.