Bogota - Australia's Bernard Tomic described as "huge" Sunday's 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) defeat of defending champion Ivo Karlovic in the Colombia Open final which secured his return to the world top 100.
The 21-year-old Tomic, whose rollercoaster career took another twist when he split with global management company IMG last week, defied the 39 aces of Karlovic to take victory in two hours and 13 minutes.
It was his second tour-level title, adding to a 2013 triumph at the Sydney International.
Victory crowned a strong week in Bogota as he won consecutive matches for the first time since undergoing double hip surgery in late January.
Tomic said: "It's my first tournament on hard courts since my surgeries in Australia.
"This title is huge and it's one I will always remember."
The world number 124 becomes the third player outside the top 100 to win a title this year, joining last week's Swedish Open champion Pablo Cuevas and Munich winner Martin Klizan.
Tomic is also the first Australian champion in South America since Ken Rosewall triumphed in Buenos Aires in 1968.
Tomic added: "I kept trying and believing in myself. Against him, if you stop believing and trying he will beat you."
For Karlovic, it was a second defeat in a final against an Australian opponent in the space of a week after the 6ft 11in Croatian giant had been defeated by Lleyton Hewitt in the Newport decider last Sunday.
Karlovic said: "It is difficult when you lose like this.
"I had a lot of opportunities in the beginning. All in all it was a great week. I was in the final again and I can only be happy. I really like the conditions here and hopefully I will be back next year."
In what turned out to be a good weekend for Australian tennis, Sam Groth and Chris Guccione won the doubles title in Bogota.
Tomic's career had taken a downward turn since making the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open, a decline which saw his ATP ranking slip from 27.
He withdrew in the first round of this year's Australian Open against Rafael Nadal and underwent hip surgery shortly afterwards and then suffered a record 26-minute defeat on his comeback event at Miami.
Last year, his father John was charged with assaulting his son's hitting partner, Frenchman Thomas Drouet in Madrid.