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Smith Advances in AO Playoffs

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Former Vol All-American John-Patrick Smith started his quest for a wild card to his home Grand Slam on Tuesday at Melbourne Park.

Smith opened the Australian Open Wildcard Playoff with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Marc Polmans to advance to the quarterfinals. 

He faces Dane Propoggia in the next round. 

Smith, a native of Queensland, Australia, is the top-seeded player in the 16-competitor draw. He reached the semifinals in this event last year but still received a main draw wild card from Tennis Australia. 

Thanks to a strong ending to the 2013 season, Smith finished the year at No. 220 in the ATP World Tour singles rankings. He enjoyed his best year in doubles on the pro circuit, becoming the 13th Vol in history to reach the top 100 in the rankings. He's been as high as No. 72 and collected seven titles during the season, picking up wins with 10 different partners.

Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren are both scheduled to play in the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoff later this month in Atlanta.

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