Brisbane, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of top-three seeds -- Roger Federer and Milos Raonic -- recorded season-opening wins Thursday at the Brisbane International tennis event.
The top-seeded Federer rallied from a set and a break down to come back to top game Aussie wild card John Millman 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in 2 hours, 2 minutes, while the third-seeded Raonic fired 17 aces in rolling past Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-4 on the hardcourts at Queensland Tennis Centre.
"I thought I got quite lucky," Federer said on-court. "He [Millman] was playing great tennis until maybe the last couple of games. I had to fight very hard. Credit to him for pushing me to the edge.
"I didn't play badly, but maybe felt a bit tired at times. The first match of the season you never know quite what to expect. I am sweating like crazy. I am happy we had a good match and I got through in the end."
Federer lost to Aussie favorite Lleyton Hewitt in last year's all-former-No. 1 Brisbane final.
His quarterfinal opponent on Friday will be another Aussie wild card, James Duckworth, while Raonic will face Aussie Sam Groth.
Meanwhile, Duckworth saved two match points in order to overcome Finnish veteran and 2008 Brisbane runner-up Jarkko Nieminen 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 and Groth outlasted Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-3).
Friday's other quarters will pit second-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori against Aussie Bernard Tomic and fourth-seeded 2013 Brisbane runner- up Grigor Dimitrov versus Slovak Martin Klizan.
Brisbane serves as a tune-up for the Australian Open, which will begin January 19 in Melbourne.