Australia's Marinko Matosevic failed to win his first ATP tour final, losing to seventh-seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) at the Delray Beach International.
As the losing finalist, Matosevic moved up to 130 in the world and earned $36,000 prize money.
Matosevic, who was ranked 173 before the Florida event, struggled to deal with his opponent's big serve and failed to find consistency in his own service games.
The Melbourne-based player, who suffered cramp following his semi-final win on Saturday, admitted to feeling a little flat 24 hours later.
"My energy levels were pretty low," Matosevic said. "I just couldn't serve well today, but credit to Kevin. He was the better player today.
Although his run through qualifying to the final was impressive, Matosevic was clearly disappointed that he couldn't make the most of his chance.
"Before the week, if you told me that I'd make the final, I'd be the happiest guy in the world," he said.
"Then when you get there and you play the match - I feel like I was just a few points from winning the match or turning the match, but I just couldn't do it. It can only help me I guess."
Despite converting both of his break-point opportunities in the first stanza, Matosevic lost the set due to Anderson creating seven of his own, of which the South African secured three breaks of serve.
Anderson could not convert any of his eight break chances in the second set, but did not give any such opportunities to Matosevic and took control early in the tie-breaker to finish off the victory in just under two hours.
"Both of us were a little nervous at the start of match, so I had to find my rhythm," said Anderson, who saved three match points in a quarter-final victory over Andy Roddick, then defeated top-seeded John Isner in the semi-finals.
"I think at the end, I felt I was mentally composed throughout (the tournament). I didn't let any patches of bad tennis affect my mindset."
AFPTags: sport, tennis, united-states First posted March 05, 2012 11:04:23