Defending champion James Blake made it two in a row at the Sydney International, beating Carlos Moya 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 on Saturday just three days before the pair meet in the first round at the Australian Open.
It was Blake's sixth title in the last year. Only Roger Federer, with 12 wins, had more tournament triumphs last year. Striking clean winners to all parts of the court, the 27-year-old Blake led by a set and 4-0. But bidding to become the oldest champion in Sydney since Australian John Alexander in 1982, the 30-year-old Moya won seven of the next eight games to force a deciding set.
The third set belonged to Blake, who became only the fourth player to defend a Sydney men's title.
Pete Sampras (1993-94) and Lleyton Hewitt, who has achieved the feat twice- in 2000-01 and 2004-05 - are the only other players in 40 years to have successfully defended their title at the third-oldest tournament in world tennis.
Moya and Blake are scheduled to play a first-round match on Tuesday at the Australian Open.
"Maybe I'll lose again against him next week, but if I play like this I'll be happy anyway because that means I'll be losing to a great player, a great champion," Moya said.
"Now I want to relax a little bit. These five days have been really hard for me and now I need a break and then come back for Melbourne."