Auckland, New Zealand, 8 January 2013 | AAP

After a 2012 he describes as “diabolical”, Australian tennis player Greg Jones has started 2013 brilliantly in Auckland – so well that he now has no chance of playing in his home grand slam.

Jones came to New Zealand ranked 373 but he has excelled in the Auckland ATP event, earning a second round spot by upsetting former top 10 player Jurgen Melzer on Tuesday.

Jones played like a man ranked much higher, serving strongly and matching Melzer with a series of winners on both sides.

The 23-year-old has been as high as 179 in the world but after taking top 20 player Alexandr Dolgopolov to five sets in the first round of the Australian Open last January the rest of the year did not go to plan.

“My year was pretty diabolical. I was injured for three months with my knee and then five weeks at the end of the year with my elbow, but in between that was probably one large mental injury,” he said.

Auckland has been a different story, as he has come through three rounds of qualifying before Tuesday’s win over Melzer.

“I think he’s probably the best player I’ve ever played, so to win is a pretty good feeling. He’s an unbelievable player,” Jones said.

“I was just fortunate he probably hasn’t seen me play a lot but I’ve seen him play a lot on TV.”

Jones will now play either another former top 10 player, Frenchman Gale Monfils, or consistent German Benjamin Becker.

His run in Auckland means he won’t have any chance of playing in the Australian Open qualifying, which starts on Wednesday, though he would have needed a wildcard to drop out in order to get one himself.

“I’m super-glad I won and I’d obviously rather play here and keep going because that’s probably what’s best for my career now,” he said.

“But at the same time there is a little bit of disappointment I’m not going to get a chance to play in the tournament that I grew up watching.”