Johannesburg - A dream came true for 2.3m South African tennis 'skyscraper' Kevin Anderson on Sunday when he won his first ATP World Tour title in his home town.
Anderson overcame a nervous start and a first-set loss to wear down dogged Indian counter-attacker Somdev Devvarman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a rain-interrupted South African Open final at Montecasino entertainment centre.
Success for the number one South African ended a long wait by the country for an ATP triumph with the last coming in Tokyo six years ago when Wesley Moodie lifted the Japan Open title despite having to pre-qualify.
Although Devvarman had made a habit of defeating South Africans at Davis Cup and tournament level, he fell to Anderson in straight sets when they last met at the 2010 US Open.
The Indian eliminated locals Raven Klaasen, Rik de Voest and Izak van der Merwe on his four-victory path to the final against Anderson, who at 59 is 51 places higher on the world rankings.
But that counted for nought early on as Devvarman attacked the potent Anderson service and broke it in the third game before rain fell and play was suspended for more than an hour.
Anderson broke back in the sixth game only for hyper-aggressive Devvarman to immediately do likewise and he went on to take the first set on the second set point.
The South African was much more foreful in the second set which he won in 27 minutes with an improved second service a key factor although many of the games were fiercely contested with the only break coming in the sixth.
As the duel moved into the third and final set, the near-capacity crowd were enthralled by the best match of the week-long tournament with little to choose between the combatants.
Anderson was showing he had much more in his arsenal that a jet-propelled service 1800 metres above sea level while Devvarman produced a greater number of aces than anticipated.
After failing to hold serve in the fifth game, Devvarrman squandered a great chance to bounce straight back as he surrendered a 40-0 lead and allowed his rival to move 4-2 ahead and on his way to success.