British number one Dan Evans won the first ATP title of his career by beating Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Murray River Open final.
Evans, 30, had lost the two previous finals of his 15-year professional career, but looked confident and in control throughout to win 6-2 6-3.
Auger-Aliassime, 20, has now lost all seven finals he has played in.
After winning the warm-up event in Melbourne, Evans turns his attentions to this week’s Australian Open.
The 30th seed will play fellow Briton Cameron Norrie in the first round on Tuesday.
“Of course I wanted to win a title, but today was just another match – I approached it in that way,” said Evans after beating Auger-Aliassime.
“Everybody wants to win. It’s a great feeling to win. But like I said last year, this year I wanted to do well in the bigger events.”
Spanish great Rafael Nadal remains hopeful he will be fit enough to play in the Grand Slam, despite saying it was “still difficult” to practise freely on Sunday because of a back injury.
“I don’t know the percentage. I don’t think about that now,” said the 34-year-old, who is aiming for an outright record 21st major men’s title.
“I think about we are on Sunday, I have tomorrow and then I’m playing Tuesday. No, I don’t think about not playing.”
Serbia’s world number one Novak Djokovic is the favourite to win a record-extending ninth title at Melbourne Park and likened his relationship with the event to a “love affair”.
However, the 33-year-old is less fond of Australian player Nick Kyrgios – who labelled Djokovic a “tool” on social media recently.
“My respect goes to him for the tennis he’s playing. I think he’s a very talented guy,” said Djokovic, who starts against France’s Jeremy Chardy on Monday.
“Off the court, I don’t have much respect for him, to be honest. That’s where I’ll close it.”
Seven-time Grand Slam doubles champion Jamie Murray is celebrating a title triumph after the Briton won the Great Ocean Road Open in his first tournament back alongside Brazilian Bruno Soares.
The 2016 Australian Open champions, who have reunited for the 2021 season after splitting in June 2019, won 6-3 7-6 (9-7) against Colombian top seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal.
In the singles, Italian 19-year-old Jannik Sinner became the youngest player to win back-to-back ATP titles since Rafael Nadal in 2005.
He won 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 against fellow Italian Stefano Travaglia.
Meanwhile, Russia won the ATP Cup as the quality of Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev shone through again in the final against Italy.
World number four Medvedev won 6-4 6-2 against Italian number one Matteo Berrettini after team-mate Andrey Rublev, ranked eighth, won 6-1 6-2 against Fabio Fognini.
Medvedev, 24, goes into this week’s Australian Open on the back of a 14-match winning streak, having won the ATP Finals and Paris Masters at the end of last season, while Rublev has also continued his fine form from 2020.
No player on the ATP Tour won more matches or titles than the 23-year-old last season.