The first match of the 2017 ATP World Tour season for Milos Raonic started on a winning note defeating Diego Schwartzman in Brisbane 6-3, 6-2.

Raonic is the defending champion at Brisbane International, which kicked off a stellar 2016 for the Canadian before he went on to register a historic year-end ranking of third in the world – the highest position attained to date for a player from Canada.

Milos Raonic holds aloft the Brisbane International trophy, his eighth ATP World Tour title won on January 10, 2016 by beating Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4.

Milos Raonic holds aloft the Brisbane International trophy, his eighth ATP World Tour title won on January 10, 2016 by beating Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4.

The win on Thursday over Argentina’s Schwartzman sent Raonic to the quarterfinals. He enjoyed a first round bye as the top seed in the tournament.

It gets decidedly tougher from here on out in Brisbane. Up next for Raonic is former world number one Rafael Nadal, who has seen off Alexandr Dolgopolov and Mischa Zverev in the previous rounds.

Other players in the quarterfinals include number two seed Stan Wawrinka and (no. 3) Kei Nishikori on the other side of the draw.

Another Canadian on the move in Brisbane is Daniel Nestor with French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who are set to play in the semifinals in men’s doubles against Australian duo Thanasi Kokkinakis and Jordan Thompson. 

Brisbane and similar tournaments in Australia serve as a warm-up for the Australian Open, which starts on January 16 in Melbourne and serves as the first Grand Slam tournament of the year on the tennis calendar.