Andy Murray claimed his second consecutive Brisbane International title, beating Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-0), 6-4 in Sunday's final.
After shaking off his dogged opponent, the world number three and top seed Murray, 25, who is looking to follow up on his breakthrough 2012 season, gave an emotional acceptance speech dedicated to an ill friend.
"I'd like to dedicate this victory to one of my best friends," the Briton said, without naming the person in question. "Thank you very much. He's back home watching and, you're going to get through."
Star-in-the-making Dimitrov, 21, world number 148 but nicknamed "Baby Federer" owing to his great promise, surged 4-1 ahead early on, completely unbothered by playing in his first ATP World Tour final. The reality soon hit home, however, when Murray broke the younger man as he served for the set with the score at 5-3, and went on to win a tiebreak with ease.
Once more in the second set Murray failed to make things easy for himself as Dimitrov pushed ahead 4-3, with Murray growing increasingly frustrated. Murray later gathered himself and tagged together a few games, using a great backhand passing shot and then a brilliant return to set up a break point, which came in the form of a backhand winner. He then held to love in a 56-second service game, before ending it around the 90-minute mark by breaking the Bulgarian once more.
"I got off to not the best start and he was playing very aggressive, and by the end of the first set I had turned the tables and I was the one make him do a lot of running," Murray said in the aftermath.
"It's taken time to believe that that's the right thing to do, to be aggressive. That was what I worked on in December, and I worked on it for the majority of last year as well. Did it well today."
Dimitrov thought he managed the experience quite well, but felt Murray's big-game mentality saw him over the line.
"He's a top guy, so he has his rhythm, his routine on court," he said. "When he has to play good, he plays good. He's one of the best returners in the game by far.
"He picked up a couple of my serves on big points, so that gave him extra confidence. Then he stepped up with his serve. So I didn't feel that I was far from winning the set or even the match, but still that was a little margin that he got covered."
After a lacklustre start to the competition, Murray had picked up the pace, eventually making the final after his Japanese opponent Kei Nishikori, 23, was forced to retire with a knee injury. When the injury halted play, Murray led 6-4, 2-0.
Dimitrov defeated Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7/5) in his semi-final, with a row breaking out over time penalties incurred by his opponent.
Murray now goes into Australian Open on 14 January in solid form as he looks to add to his 2012 trophy haul.
"I hope that the Australian Open goes a bit better for me than it did last year," he remarked. "I played some very good tennis there. I lost a set in the first round, and then won the next four matches in straight sets, until the match with Novak which I played very well. So I hope I can start the year well."