WIMBLEDON runner-up Milos Raonic did not look like a man haunted by his near misses against the only two men ranked above him when he made a power-packed start to his Australian campaign on Thursday.
Raonic, the Brisbane International top seed, unleashed 12 aces in nine service games in a 6-3 6-2 win over diminutive Argentine Diego Schwartzmann in the first match of his title defence at Pat Rafter Arena.
Canada's world No.3 lost all six matches against Andy Murray last year, the last in a heart-breaking third-set tiebreak at the ATP World Tour finals.
He was 0-3 for the year against Novak Djokovic, whom he has not beaten in seven career clashes.
Asked how quickly he got over his season-ending loss to Murray, Raonic said: "It was as easy as it could be to get over a loss.
"I really feel like there's a lot of different aspects in 2016 which I've done to get me on the right track.
"I feel like my game is going in the right direction. It's about playing well throughout the whole season, which is the most difficult challenge.''
Canada's world No.3, also put a high 75% of first serves in play to leave 170cm Schwartzmann, who is 26cm shorter than Raonic, without a prayer.
The top seed's quarter-final opponent is 14-time Grand Slam tournament champion Rafael Nadal who accounted for German Mischa Zverev.
Raonic said playing Nadal would be "exciting and a great task”.
The 69-minute win was a brisk first ATP match of the season for Raonic, the Wimbledon runner-up who lost one service game.
"It didn't (feel like I was in control), but it got to that point,” Raonic said.
"I struggled in my first service game and then I felt I started imposing myself. I have to be glad with how I finished.
"If I can take care of my service games, it makes the opponent's service games seem that much more daunting.
"It helps me on both ends, serving and increasing the pressure on their service games as well.”
Raonic, who lost a three-set exhibition against Nadal last week in Abu Dhabi, says he likes to keep tabs on the early-season prowess of his Australian Open rivals, but believes early season form will count for nothing at Melbourne Park.
Roger Federer lost at Perth's Hopman Cup teams exhibition to German teen Alex Zverev on Wednesday, Murray lost at Abu Dhabi to world No.12 David Goffin, while Djokovic is working through the rounds in the ATP Doha tournament this week.
"I watch what they do because it's a new season. I think the results are quite irrelevant,” Raonic said.
"You watch to see other top players play and get some insight on how you think things will play out this year. You try to see how you would deal with those situations (they are finding in matches).”
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