Johanna Konta blitzed Agnieszka Radwanska to win the Apia International title in Sydney and boost hopes that a much bigger trophy could follow in two weeks.
The British number one’s stellar performance in a 6-4 6-2 victory established her firmly as one of the favourites for the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.
And Britain could yet boast both the women’s and men’s champions in Sydney, with Dan Evans defeating Andrey Kuznetsov to reach his first ATP Tour final, while Jamie Murray is in the doubles final.
Konta, playing in the city of her birth, did not drop a set all week as she marched through a high-class field.
She had never previously beaten world number three Radwanska but in their third meeting Konta simply overpowered the wily Pole, blasting 32 winners.
If anything, it was Radwanska who was flattered by the scoreline, and she said at her press conference afterwards: “I can’t remember playing someone this consistent and at that level.”
Konta announced herself as a potential threat at the latter stages of grand slams 12 months ago with a surprise run to the semi-finals in Melbourne.
A year later, she heads to the year’s first grand slam as a top-10 player and now a two-time winner on the WTA Tour after adding to her maiden title in Stanford last summer.
The 25-year-old would be even shorter odds to triumph at the Australian Open but for an extremely tough draw, that could see her facing Caroline Wozniacki, Dominika Cibulkova, Karolina Pliskova and Serena Williams before the final.
Konta, playing in just her second tournament under the guidance of new coach Wim Fissette, said she felt wiser and more resilient than 12 months ago.
Among the crowd for the final were several members of her family, including her sister, nieces and nephews, and she said winning in Sydney was a very special moment.
Konta added at her press conference: “I’m really pleased with the amount of matches I’ve been able to play. I take it as a nice reward for all the hard work.”
A day after claiming his first win over a top-10 player, when he knocked out Dominic Thiem, Evans again showed the immense talent he possesses with a 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory over Russian Kuznetsov.
It is a change in attitude that has turned the Birmingham player’s career around and he maintained his focus superbly after Kuznetsov fought back to level the match.
Evans, who is already guaranteed to climb to a new career-high ranking just outside the top 50, will play Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller in the final.
He said: “It was a good match. I feel pretty tired to be honest but I might not get this opportunity in a final for a while. It’s great that Jo won. Hopefully Jamie wins, and hopefully I do.”