John Millman has made a winning start to 2018 after storming past Canadian qualifier Peter Polansky in straight sets to open his Brisbane International campaign.
Handed a wildcard entry to his home tournament, the popular 28-year-old cashed in with a hard-earned 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 victory late on Tuesday night.
It started out as a relatively even match-up between two grafters ranked outside the world's top 100 but Millman won all the key moments, setting up a tough second-round clash with world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday.
He broke Polansky twice to win a tense tiebreaker to end an arm-wrestle of a first set, then landed what proved to be the knockout blow by breaking his serve again in the very next game.
Polansky unravelled from there, winning only two points for the remainder of the match as Millman wrapped up the second set in little more than half an hour.
The Canadian, who is nine spots behind Millman at No.137 in the world, reached a career-high ranking of 115 last year, having blown out to 704 two years ago.
His career almost didn't happen at all. Polansky suffered life-threatening injuries after falling out a third-story window in a sleepwalking accident when he was 18, suffering cuts so bad that doctors contemplated amputating his leg.
Millman withdrew from last year's Brisbane International due to injury and had groin surgery that saw him spend almost eight months on the sidelines, but he clearly relished his return to Pat Rafter Arena.
He has built nicely ever since, making the third round of the US Open before a surprise Davis Cup debut in a valiant semi-final loss away to Belgium.
A protected ranking means he is assured of a spot at the Australian Open.
Meanwhile, World No.9 Johanna Konta recovered from a sloppy first set to defeat a plucky Ajla Tomljanovic and move through to the quarter-finals.
Croatian-born Australian wildcard Tomljanovic rattled the Brit early and mounted a ferocious late rally but ultimately succumbed 4-6 6-1 6-4 on Tuesday night as Konta backed up her hard-fought first-round win over Madison Keys.
It means there are no Australian women left in the singles draw after Ashleigh Barty's shock exit on Monday.
Konta will meet third seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine or Ana Konjuh of Croatia in her next match.
She made 23 unforced errors in the opening set against Tomljanovic, which lasted for nearly an hour, but eventually found her groove against the world's 118th-ranked player.
It was a battle between a former Australian and a future one - Konta was born in Sydney but moved to the UK with her family at the age of 14.
Tomljanovic, on the other hand, began representing Australia in 2014 and is based in Brisbane but cannot officially represent her adopted country in WTA events until she receives gets citizenship.
The crowd at Pat Rafter Arena - which included her boyfriend Nick Kyrgios, who she has been practising with - was clearly on her side after she broke the 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist four times in the first set.
However, fifth seed Konta came out firing in the second and was up 5-0 when Tomljanovic took a medical timeout to work on an issue with her right adductor.
She returned to win the next game and broke Konta again late in the third set as she served for the match, coming from 5-2 down to within a point of parity, only to fall heartbreakingly short of what would have been a stirring victory.