Paolo Lorenzi has made the best possible start to his Australian Open preparation, blowing the in-form Ivan Dodig off the court in the $75,000 Canberra ATP Challenger final.
The Italian No.1 seed dominated the fifth-seeded Croatian to take the match in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 on his way to claiming the inaugural title at the Canberra Tennis Centre on Saturday.
Lorenzi, ranked 69th in the world, justified his tournament favouritism despite carrying a calf injury suffered in the previous week's ATP event in Doha.
"I had (a) calf problem, I wasn't sure about Canberra, but I felt better with each match I played," Lorenzi said.
Dodig had been untroubled going into the final, not dropping a set in his previous four matches this week.
But he was made to looked listless in the decider as Lorenzi rattled off eight games in a row across the first and second sets.
"I was a little bit tired today, but I was moving well on court and didn't miss a lot," Lorenzi said.
"I think I was a bit more focused (than Dodig) today."
The match started with a flurry of service breaks.
Dodig took a 2-0 lead in the first set before his poor serving and inconsistent groundstrokes allowed Lorenzi to break back and take the first set without further resistance.
Lorenzi said that conditions played a part in the repeated breaks of serve, but that he found it easier than his opponent to regroup and take control.
"The wind was all week, but it was not too hot today like it was early in the tournament," he said.
"I was focused, I knew what I had to do (to win) and I was trying to do it better."
The second set looked to be following the same pattern as the first, with Lorenzi leaping to a 5-1 lead before Dodig held serve and then broke the Italian's serve to threaten a comeback.
Lorenzi managed to hold his nerve during his next service game and closed out the match 6-4 in the second set.
Lorenzi will now take his much-needed good form into the Australian Open where he has drawn 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the first round.
Dimitrov has hit the ground running coming off two impressive tournaments of the Australian summer.
He lost a tight match to Roger Federer in the third round of the Brisbane International and played Viktor Troicki in the final of the Apia International Sydney on Saturday night.
"(The match against Dimitrov) will be (a) tough match, but I am playing my best and I hope that will be good enough," Lorenzi said.
Dodig faces a similarly rough path to progress deep into the tournament, with an expected clash with world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the second round.
Canberra ATP Challenger: 1-Paolo Lorenzi (Ita) bt 5-Ivan Dodig (Cro) 6-2, 6-4 at the Canberra Tennis Centre on Saturday.