Milos Raonic started his 2017 season on a strong note on Thursday, advancing past Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International.
Needing just 69 minutes to complete the second-round victory, Raonic blasted 12 aces past his opponent. His triumph sets up a blockbuster quarter-final with Rafael Nadal, seeded No. 5. Raonic fell to Nadal just last week in Abu Dhabi, in what was an exhibition tournament. Their head-to-head is currently 6-1 in Nadal’s favour, but this will be the first time they officially face off with Raonic the higher-ranked player.
The defending champion and world No. 3, Raonic is the top seed in Brisbane and had a first-round bye. Last year, he ousted Roger Federer in the final.
Raonic will take on Nadal on Friday evening local time / 4 a.m. ET.
— #BrisbaneTennis (@BrisbaneTennis) January 5, 2017
Also doing well in Brisbane is doubles legend Daniel Nestor, who has already secured his spot in the semifinals with partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France. Seeded No. 4, they will next challenge Aussie wild cards Thanasi Kokkinakis and Jordan Thompson.