Roger Federer survived a close call in his first match of the season, needing three sets Thursday to reach the Brisbane International quarterfinals.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner held off Australian wild-card entry John Millman 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

"I'm sweating like crazy," Federer said.

The weather was reasonably mild for sub-tropical Brisbane, where Federer lost in the final last year. It was the hot reception from the No. 153-ranked Millman that troubled him for a while.

Federer, who had a first-round bye and delayed his opening match until Day 5 of the tournament, made an uncharacteristic 19 unforced errors in the first set and finished with 38 for the match.