Behind a solid returning performance on a hot afternoon, former Vol John-Patrick Smith advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Open Playoff in Melbourne Park.
Smith beat seventh-seeded Greg Jones 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in Wednesday's quarterfinal to move just two matches away from securing a main draw wild card into his home Grand Slam.
The match was closely contested, but Smith got the breaks when he needed them, serving out the victory on his first match point at 40-30. Jones was coming off a lengthy five-set win in his opening match, and that mileage started to play a factor as the match continued.
"Coming in, I had to make a lot of returns on his serve," Smith told Tennis Australia's broadcasters after the match. "He has a big serve and probably hit a dozen aces. I haven't seen the stats. I just knew I had to make returns and had to get him moving."
Smith, seeded second, is the highest seed remaining in the tournament. In the semifinals, he will face the winner of the ongoing match between Matt Reid and junior champion Luke Saville.