Melbourne Park, 9 December 2011 | James Hunter-Smith

Eight men are left standing in the Australian Open 2012 Play-offs with quarterfinals action ready to roll today at Melbourne Park.

With a spot in the main draw of the Australian Open up for grabs, players will be eager to come out firing and assert themselves as legitimate contenders.

The men were given a rest on Thursday with the women completing their round-robin draw, but that didn’t signal time off with many quarterfinalists taking to the court for practice sessions.

Top seed Greg Jones has flown well under the radar in his recent surge up the rankings and takes on Dane Propoggia first up at 10:00 am.

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Jones, the current world No.196 and fourth-ranked Australian, enters the clash fresh after a bye in the first round and a cruisy straight-sets win against Gavin Van Peperzeel in the second round.

But Propoggia will be no walkover. The 21-year-old right-hander has been in impressive form, making light work of Andrew Harris in the opening round and knocking off sixth seed James Lemke on Wednesday in two sets.

Propoggia has seen relative success in 2011, reaching the semifinals in two Futures events in Serbia and Turkey and is ranked No.666 in the world.

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Following Jones and Propoggia on Court 6 is third seed Ben Mitchell and fifth seed James Duckworth, who are separated by 60 spots in the current ATP rankings.

Duckworth enters the clash with fresher legs after taking down 2011 junior Wimbledon champion Luke Saville 6-2 6-2 in the second round, while Mitchell had a slightly tougher assignment overcoming Matthew Barton 7-6(8) 7-5.

Next up is second seed Marinko Matosevic who will also have his hands full when he faces young gun Nicholas Kyrgios, who has taken out some big names on his way to the quarterfinals.

Kyrgios, the 16-year-old from the ACT, beat fellow youngster Alex Bolt in the opening round and went on to topple seventh seed Matt Reid 6-4 6-4 in the next round.

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While facing Matosevic is a daunting prospect, Kyrgios said the build-up hasn’t phased him.

“I haven’t really been thinking much at all about it, but I’m sure I’ll probably start feeling the pressure a bit,” he said.

“But I’ll just go out there playing how I played [on Wednesday], win or lose.”

Kyrgios said he was confident he could get through his first-round match against Bolt, but wasn’t sure what to expect from then on.

“I didn’t look too far into the draw,” he said.

“I knew Reid was going to be a tough, tough player and I knew I had to play my best, and if I played my best I had a shot and I got the win.”

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Matosevic enters the quarterfinals in good stead after disposing of the towering Sam Groth in the second round, containing his devastating first serve and conceding only five games.

Townsville’s new hero JP Smith will look to take out another seed when he battles eighth-seed Michael Look.

The two Queenslanders haven’t faced each other since playing in a 16s nationals event several years ago. Both have since spent time abroad in the US college system – Smith at the University of Tennessee and Look at UCLA.

Smith is yet to drop a set in the play-offs, sparking major interest after taking down the booming left-hander Chris Guccione on Wednesday 7-5 7-6(3) and has kick-started his return to the Australian circuit in style.

Look survived an early scare from Isaac Frost in the second round after dropping the opening set 6-2 but redeemed himself by taking out the next two to advance to the quarterfinals.

All men’s quarterfinals will be live streamed on, with coverage beginning at 9:45 am.

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