TENNIS: Brisbane's John Millman has played his way into another of his spotlight nights at Pat Rafter Arena with a first-round win which gives him a crack at world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday.
Millman, a wildcard entry, tore through a 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 win over Canadian Peter Polanski, ranked No. 137, 13 places beneath the Queenslander on the ATP rankings.
Dimitrov, the defending champion, will play his first match of the year against an opponent who stepped up his form through the second set and has a history of playing at a high level at Rafter Arena.
Millman, ranked fourth in Australia, took a set off Andy Murray in 2013 at Rafter Arena and a set off Roger Federer in 2015.
It was Millman's third main-draw match win at a Brisbane International in his sixth home-city campaign.
"It's become a bit of a tradition for me to play the top seed in the second round at Rafter Arena,'' Millman said.
"It's a pressure cooker for me playing at home. I want to do well at home, but I do love playing in front of family, friends and the wonderful support I get in Queensland.
"I hope to make the Brisbane people proud and put together another memorable performance.
"I like to test myself against the best players in the world and sometimes it is challenging, as I found when I played Rafa (Nadal on court one at Wimbledon last year). Sometimes it can rewarding to see how you match up.
"I hope I can play pretty free against Grigor and with nothing to lose put on a good show. He's a great player and he likes the conditions.''
Millman will play the Australian Open on one of the few remaining protected-ranking entries afforded him because he missed so much of 2017 getting over groin surgery.
The 28-year-old right-hander made his Davis Cup debut in September and hopes to retain it with his Australian summer results heading into the February 2-4 tie against Germany at Rafter Arena.
Millman has a 1-0 career edge over Dimitrov, but they have not played since a 2010 Challenger event in England.
"I'd imagine he'd be pretty nervous going by that,'' he quipped.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.