Beijing - Controversial Australian Bernard Tomic won his first tournament in
three years on Sunday - and in the most dramatic of circumstances,
saving four match points to triumph at the Chengdu Open.
25-year-old defeated top seed Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7)
in a thrilling three-setter in southwest China, where he was a
Tomic sank to his knees in celebration, kissed the court and then looked up to the sky as he milked the moment.
first ATP World Tour crown since Bogota in 2015 will propel the
world-ranked 123 comfortably inside the top 100 and eyeing a spot at
next year's Australian Open.
It was double disappointment for
Fognini, the number 13 who had been attempting to become the first
Italian man to win four titles in a season.
"I could have lost
like five times this tournament," said Tomic, for whom it was a welcome
change to be making headlines for the right reasons.
"I was down in so many matches and faced match points against (Lloyd) Harris in the second round as well.
"It's been a rollercoaster week."
seen as a rising star, Tomic has had a number of run-ins with
authorities over the years, earning him the reputation as one of
tennis's bad boys.
In January he faced a backlash after boasting
"I just count my millions" in response to failing to negotiate
qualifying for the Australian Open.
In 2017, as his once-promising
career nosedived, Tomic admitted he was sometimes "bored" during
matches and not always giving 100 percent.
Result from the ATP Chengdu Open at the Sichuan International Tennis Center on Sunday (x denotes seed):
Bernard Tomic (AUS) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x1) 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7)