Britain's Andy Murray hailed a "dream come true" after winning his first ATP Tour title with a thrilling victory over Lleyton Hewitt in San Jose.
Murray has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the last year
"I thought I played really well and got my tactics right, but didn't execute them well in the first set," he said.
"Lleyton came up with some really big serves when I had my first two match points and I almost let him back in, but I managed to come through.
"To win 7-6 in the third set against Lleyton is a dream come true."
Murray, who was still playing on the Challenger Tour this time last year, prevailed in only his second final, having lost to Roger Federer in the Thailand Open final last October.
His reward is a place in the world's top 50 and a cheque for $53,000 (£30,000).
"This week has been perfect for me," he said. "I played pretty solidly in all my matches, apart from a set-and-a-half against Robin Soderling.
"But I managed to come through that and this has been the best week of my life - it can't get much better."
After converting his third match point in the tie-break, Murray headed into the crowd to kiss and embrace his girlfriend Kim, who accompanied him to San Jose this week in the absence of his coach Mark Petchey.
"It is the first time she has come to a tournament with me, and maybe I have been a little more relaxed on court!" he joked with the crowd.
"I played really well and hopefully she will come to a few more tournaments."
A disappointed Hewitt, who has not won a title for 13 months, was magnanimous in his praise for Murray.
"I want to congratulate Andy on a fantastic tournament," said the Australian.
"He has beaten top players all week and it is always great to win an ATP Tour title."