MARGARET COURT: Can Culph make it to a cup hat-trick?

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JADE Culph is confident he can make an unprecedented hat-trick of Margaret Court Cups today.

Albury resident Culph has won the past two tournaments that are held annually at the Albury and Wodonga grasscourts.

The third-seeded Culph breezed through his quarter-final and semi-final matches yesterday without dropping a set, and will now come up against the hard-hitting youngster Josh Barrenechea.

Culph, 35, started slowly in his quarter-final match against James Palmer, eventually grinding out a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win.

But it was a different scenario in his semi-final match against the number two seed Sean Carson.

Culph burst out of the blocks and was quickly up a double break before rounding out the first set 6-2.

“I got off to a really good start which was pleasing, and he was playing catch up from the get go,” Culph said.

“The wind made conditions a bit tougher than usual, but I’m feeling good at the moment.

“In the second set he started serving a lot better and was coming up to the net more, so he was right back in it.”

Neither player was able to break serve until the games were tied at 5-5, where Culph unleashed a flurry of good shots to take the lead.

“I really played a good game to break which was pleasing,” he said.

“I think I hit three winners, and there wasn’t much he could do about it.

“I hit a passing shot, and a good lob, and I was on a roll from there.

“To get through to another final is just amazing. I’m over the moon about it.”

Barrenechea, 21, from Brisbane, cruised through his two matches yesterday, beating Nathan Doney 6-3 6-3 in the quarter-finals and Tyrone Smart in the semi-finals by the same scoreline.

“I played pretty solid,” Barrenechea said after the match.

“Tyrone came off a big match beforehand against (Albury player) Brandon Veschio who was the number one seed, whereas I had an easier match so I had that up my sleeve.

“This is my first big tournament after about a year away from tennis.

“So to be doing so well is great.”

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