Melbourne Park, 10 December 2012 | Jaclyn Stacey

Round one of the men’s Australian Open 2013 Play-off event kicked off today with 16 men all vying for the chance to win a wildcard into the main draw of January’s Australian Open.

Among the first matches of the morning, number two seed John-Patrick Smith confidently disposed of 17-year-old Jay Andrijic in straight sets 6-2 7-5 6-1 in under two hours.

Townsville native Smith, who trains in the US and is currently ranked number 245 in the ATP World Tour rankings, showed his experience in claiming the first set with an ace 6-2.

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The second set proved to be more of a challenge with Sydneysider Andrijic firing up and appearing more confident and motivated throughout the set. Some exciting tennis ensued with the players exchanging some scintillating groundstrokes and mixing up their shots, forcing the other to come to the net.

A semifinal appearance in last week’s Optus 18s Australian Championships seemed to help the young Andrijic who managed to stay level with Smith throughout the set, swapping breaks early before holding at 5-5.

Smith was not deterred, however, switching his play up a notch and breaking Andrijic to go up 6-5 before easily holding serve and sealing the set 7-5.

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From there it was smooth sailing for the second seed, steamrolling the third set 6-1 for the victory. He was happy to get the first win under his belt having not played a match in over a month.

“I got off to a great start. I got another great start in the second set but then he kind of came back a bit and then I broke him in the last game of the second set and served it out so that was good and then it just rolled from there.”

“Conditions were pretty windy out here so it was good to get a win in these blustery conditions.”

On his younger opponent, Smith says “I kind of let him back in there in the second set but to his credit he fought back in it so it was tough and he competed well.”

Looking ahead to the second round, Smith will play the winner of Greg Jones versus Michael Look, who at the time of publication were locked in an intense five set battle on court 5.

“I’ve known Greg since I was 10 and I’ve known Mike since 14s. I’ve played them both in juniors so it should be a good match whoever I play.”

Elsewhere this morning number three seed Matt Reid came back from two sets down to defeat young Victorian Jacob Grills 3-6 3-6 6-2 6-2 6-1 in two hours and 36 minutes.

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