LONDON (Reuters) -Italian top seed Matteo Berrettini marked himself down as a genuine Wimbledon threat after beating Britain's Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 to win the Queen's Club title on Sunday.
The 25-year-old used his huge serve and forehand to great effect once again to claim his fifth career title and become the first Italian champion at the prestigious event.
Berrettini banged down his 19th ace as he served for the match and claimed victory on his first match point.
"Sorry for the others but this is the nicest trophy I've won," the Italian said after becoming the first debutant to win the title since Boris Becker in 1985.
"I have been watching the tournament since I was a kid and this is a dream come true to win it."
The world number nine did not drop serve since the first round and held 46 service games in a row.
World number 41 Norrie dug deep to take the match to a deciding set but faltered at 3-4 as he dropped serve with untimely errors.
Norrie was Berrettini's third British victim this week after he also beat five-times champion Andy Murray and Dan Evans.
With Berrettini's serving looking untouchable it was vital Norrie looked after his own delivery but he dropped serve with a double fault in the sixth game of the opening set to hand Berrettini the decisive break.
Berrettini was close to winning in straight sets when he had two break points at 4-4 in the second but Norrie hit back superbly to level the match by winning the tiebreak.
It was only a temporary hiccup for Berrettini, however, as he powered through the decider to emulate Becker.
The German went on to win Wimbledon a few weeks later and the in-form Berrettini will head to the All England Club with high hopes of a deep run.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Ediitng by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Ed Osmond)