Big serving world No.14 Milos Raonic has had to dig deep to avoid becoming the second men’s seed to fall in the Brisbane International second round on Thursday.
The Canadian fourth seed held on for a 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-4 win over Croatian qualifier Ivan Dodig at Pat Rafter Arena.
He booked a quarter-final showdown with Frenchman Lucas Pouille who bounced Belgian sixth seed David Goffin out of the tournament.
World No.78 Pouille upset the Belgian Davis Cup hero 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 in a match lasting more than two hours.
Raonic is using the Brisbane International as an Australian Open warm-up after a 2015 season ended prematurely by back problems.
And he got a work out from dogged world No.87 Dodig after receiving a first round bye.
Former Brisbane finalist Raonic made 21 unforced errors to Dodig’s four to surprisingly drop the first set tiebreaker before regrouping against the world top 10 doubles player.
In the end, Raonic fired down 17 aces with serves threatening 230kph.
Earlier, Goffin had hoped to at least make the Brisbane quarter-finals for the first time after a breakthrough year.
He completed his 2015 campaign as world No.16 – the highest year-end ranking ever by a Belgian.
He also led Belgium to their first Davis Cup final appearance since 1904.
But the 25-year-old dropped a first-set tiebreaker and a key service match in the third set to be bundled out of the tournament.
Meanwhile organisers are confident the 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer will take the court on Thursday night despite speculation about a forearm complaint.
The defending champion opens his campaign against German qualifier Tobias Kamke.
In the other men’s second round clash on Thursday, former Brisbane finalist Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria takes on Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.