Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday to capture the Brisbane International and win his eighth ATP World Tour title.
It was sweet revenge for the 25-year-old Raonic, who last year lost to Federer when the pair met in the Brisbane final.
Raonic made a strong statement to start the new season with just his second win in 11 meetings with Federer.
"It feels great," Raonic said. "It feels great considering how the past nine months have been. It adds a sort of cherry on top to all that. (The win) does great things. For myself it signifies within the team how concrete and good the work we're doing is.
"At the same time, with the difficulties I've had last year, it's maybe a good way for me to show the other guys I will face going in Melbourne that I've got my stuff back together and I can play some good tennis again."
Federer fended off two break points in the fifth game and saved a third in the ninth game, but Raonic converted his fourth opportunity to take a decisive 5-4 lead in the opening set.
Raonic left the court for a medical timeout after the third game of the second set. With his rhythm briefly disrupted on return, Federer almost took advantage of three double faults to engineer his first break. But Raonic held for 2-2 and went on to break Federer for a second time in the seventh game, closing out victory in 87 minutes.
"Just a little bit the adductor," Raonic said, explaining the medical timeout. "So just after the timeout it was a little bit hard to push off just until I got my legs going, and I think that's why (the serves) were sort of floating long on me and the last one came short on me.
"Against him it's always about who can dictate. I felt that other than maybe one service game where I double faulted three times, I was staying quite a bit ahead on my serve and always close on his, except for one that I lost at love. I felt like most of the other ones I was getting to 30. I was giving myself opportunities and then was able to capitalize twice."
Raonic is looking to put behind him a frustrating 2015 season, which saw him hampered by foot and back injuries after a strong start to the campaign, which had propelled him to a career-high No. 4 in the ATP Rankings.
Federer fought through a bout of flu at the start of the tournament to reach his 136th tour-level final (88-48 record). The Swiss beat Dominic Thiem in Saturday's semifinals to advance to his third successive Brisbane final. It is the second time he has finished runner-up, also missing out in 2014.
"(Raonic) did well. It was a tough match -- (my) legs were a little bit wobbly," Federer said. "Still, considering the week I've had, I'm actually quite happy. That's why I'm not down or anything or disappointed. If I would've known I would've made the finals five days ago I would've been unbelievably happy."
Federer planned to head to Melbourne and rest before getting into his fine-tuning for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 18.
"The good thing is the offseason was great. I have a base there," Federer said, "so I think within three, four days I should be back at 100 percent."