American Andy Roddick won the $524,000 China Open on Sunday, ending the dream run of unseeded Israeli Dudi Sela with a 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 victory.
The former US Open champion looked to be on his way to a quick win after wrapping up the first set in 30 minutes, but Sela fought back to force a tie-break and push the final to a decider.
"I told you guys yesterday, he probably played the best out of anyone thus far in this tournament," Roddick said of his 92nd-ranked opponent, who had knocked out top seed David Ferrer of Spain and sixth seed Tommy Robredo.
Having stunned Roddick with winners from all angles of the court, 23-year-old Sela faltered when serving at 2-3 in the final set.
Roddick pounced on the chance, seizing the break after scrambling to reach a drop-shot and forcing the Israeli to push the ball wide.
"I had in the back of my mind that I'd played 30-40 finals and that this was his first one, so I knew that would count for something," Roddick told reporters.
Sela, who had played a prettier brand of tennis, was left to rue his momentary lapse as Roddick fired five of his 17 aces in his last two service games, including one on match point.
"I showed myself that I can play with the big players," said Sela, who helped Israel beat Peru to retain its place in the Davis Cup World Group last week.
"You know it's a lot of pressure when you play against (Roddick) because you know you have to keep your serve every time."
Roddick's victory moves him closer to clinching one of the four remaining spots at the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in November, exclusive to the year's top-performing eight players.
Swiss Roger Federer, Spain's Rafael Nadal, Briton Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic of Serbia have already qualified for the prestigious Shanghai event.
Meanwhile, Serbian world number two Jelena Jankovic was playing Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Beijing women's final later on Sunday.